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.
Pre-game notes: Kreider's homework, bag skates, scratches
Rookie Chris Kreider, who joined the team on Wednesday and was a healthy scratch, had a Game 1 homework assignment: Keep your eye on No. 62.
“I was told to watch Carl Hagelin,” Kreider said. “How he hounds pucks, the puck pursuit, the energy he brings to the game.”
Like Hagelin, who graduated from Michigan and played 17 games in the AHL before being promoted, Kreider has great speed, and that’s a starting point for the Boston College junior, who needs to complete four courses this summer for a degree.
As for his on-ice education, Rangers coaches “emphasized puck pursuit, not so much speed with the puck, but speed without the puck,” he said, “to bring that to my game, being able to harass defensemen.”
Sitting out wasn’t a surprise or disappointment. “I just feed off the energy practicing with NHL players,” Kreider said. “It’s a jump up for me regardless.”
Backup goaltender Martin Biron, who has faced the 20-year-old in two practices, said: “His game is raw, but the speed is impressive; good shot, quick release, precise. There’s a lot of adrenalin right now, but you can see what he’s got.”
The Rangers were among the few teams who were not punished by a “bag skate” (hard-skating practices without pucks) after a lackluster effort.
“Not once this year…and coaches do it all the time… did we have to go out there and kick the hell out of them because you didn’t get enough out of them the night before---just to make sure you get the message across,” Tortorella said. “I thought our guys showed up every day.”
The other Rangers scratches were Steve Eminger (ankle), who said he’s close to returning to practice; John Scott and Jeff Woywitka. Zenon Konopka, Bobby Butler, Matt Carkner and Rob Klinkhammer were expected to be the scratched Senators.