Blue Notes

Steve Zipay takes you inside the locker room, home and on the road, with the New York Rangers, and also writes about the NHL, off and on the ice.

Post-Game Extra: Kreider, Lundqvist, the PP, Pouliot



          There was a lot of postgame chatter about a possible hearing for Chris Kreider for the crosschecking minor on Scottie Upshall at the bench with 1:15 left in regulation.

           Guessing there will be a review, but not sure about a full hearing. I believe Kreider was annoyed at the spat between Upshall and Derek Stepan that preceded it and caught Upshall by surprise, and was not a hit to the head. I’d like to see a replay again Monday, though. Penalty, yes. Suspension?  I’ve seen much worse shots to the head that the NHL let pass.

          Coach Alain Vigneault said post-game that Kreider had apologized to the team for putting them in a bad spot, shorthanded, with a 4-3 lead. He was not in the locker room to be questioned by the media.

          Listen, two of the reasons that Torts wasn’t high on Kreider? Because he perceived him as passive and not always aware defensively. Now he plays with an edge and by the way, did you see his d-play in the neutral zone that helped trigger J.T. Miller’s rush and goal? Even if he’s suspended, I’ll take Kreider 2.0


          Strange to hear Henrik Lundqvist post-game call the match “a must-win”. In early November, that’s a reach, no?  A loss would have been very disappointing, no doubt, but maybe he was thinking more about a must-win for himself.


          Is the power play fixed? Let’s call it rejuventated.  It’s improving, there’s confidence and looks far more together, and has, as Brad Richards noted after the game, “a purpose”. But overall, still tied for 14th in the league and 3 for 22 at home. It’s the road success (23.5 percent) that’s impressive to me…


            Two players making a real difference? Easy: Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin. Two top-six guys who were sorely missed when they were sidelined and everybody and his sister was twisted up and over-reacting about the future of the team this season.


            Not faring so well? Benoit Pouliot, who saw about seven minutes of ice time. Maybe a healthy scratch will spark him, as it has for many underachievers. When Dom Moore returns, maybe Saturday, there’s an opening. Give Derick Brassard a better left winger on that third line. J.T. Miller had some ups and downs, but he’ll play hard and go to the net. If not Miller, a call up. Still only 12 healthy forwards…  


             Should be a dandy with the Devils on Tuesday. 5-3-2 in last 10…NYR practice at noon today...

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