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.
Taylor Pyatt: I know I've got to produce
Problem: Ryan Callahan, who has three goals and plays in all situations -- 5-on-5, 5-on-4 and the PK -- will miss three to four weeks with a broken thumb.
First AV solution: Try Taylor Pyatt on the first line and PP and use Darroll Powe on the PK.
"You can't replace what he brings to the table, you hope other guys take advantage of the opportunity to play more minutes," said Vigneault.
My take: I'd deploy JT Miller with Derick Brassard and Brad Richards on the first line for some scoring potential, and use Pyatt, 32, who has no points in the first six games, on the second line to start against New Jersey.
Not the way AV's thinking:
“Looking at how Brass’ line had some success, a lot of it came from cycling and down low in the other team’s end and Taylor can do that,” said Vigneault, who coached Pyatt in Vancouver, when he contributed 23 and 16 goals in 2006 and 2007. “He’s a big body (6-foot-4) who can protect the puck and take the puck to the net. And with the guys we had available, he was probably our best-suited guy to come in there with the cycle and net presence that Cally was bringing to that line.”
Pyatt is aware that someone or someones, must fill the gaps. “I know I’ve got to find a way to produce,” said Pyatt, who has played about 15 minutes a game on the lower lines and on the penalty-kill. “Do the grunt work. Try to get around the net, win battles, be around the puck…I’m getting an opportunity with two good players.”
In Vancouver, Pyatt skated at times with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and Vigneault said he “talked to Taylor about that today…when he did play with the twins, he was a good net presence, he was good on the cycle. That’s what I’m hoping for.”
Callahan, who also broke his hand on a shot by the Pens Kris Letang in December 2010, was coming off shoulder surgery and not available to speak with the media Friday.
About Powe, which I sort of get: “We’re already short on penalty-killers, and we thought Powe had a really strong training camp,” said Vigneault. Callahan was averaging 2:24 on the power play and 1:36 shorthanded.
Why not bring Chris Kreider in? Vigneault was to visit Hartford to watch the WolfPack Friday. He said coach Ken Gernander told him Kreider was “using his tools and playing well. He’s going to continue to improve and at some point we’re going to need him and he’s going to be ready for us."
Vigneault on visiting Newark: "It's my first time with this New York tradition, looking forward to it. I watched Jersey’s game against Ottawa (a 5-2 loss); they played real well and met a hot goaltender who shut them down."
Carl Hagelin, after first contact in practice, says he's on target to return when elibile, off LTIR, on 10/29: "All you need is one good battle and you realize you’re feeling good… just win one battle and you feel confident, you feel strong and after that, you just keep playing," said Hagelin, who continues to lift weights to strengthen his surgically repaired left shoulder, the same procedue that kept Callahan out until the second game of the season.
G Cam Talbot, who backed up Henrik Lundqvist against the Caps, was scheduled to play Friday and Saturday and probably Wednesday for the Pack, Vigneault said, while 6-foot-8 Jason Missiaen, 23, serves as backup. A decision by G Martin Biron, 36, who was waived and unclaimed, on whether to retire is expected “soon," the team said.
I'll be at the morning skate at The Rock, so will update you guys and girls from there around 11:30 AM...