Chris Kreider candidate to be sent to Connecticut Whale

Chris Kreider leaves the ice after being hit

Chris Kreider leaves the ice after being hit by Brooks Orpik #44 of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the final minute of play at Madison Square Garden. (Jan. 20, 2013) (Credit: Getty)

Could Chris Kreider, the rookie out of Boston College who crashed the playoff party with five goals last spring, be headed back to the AHL for fine-tuning?

Rangers coach John Tortorella raised the possibility after the Rangers edged the Bruins, 4-3, in overtime Wednesday night for their first win. Kreider was benched for almost all of the second and third periods, playing just 7:31.

Tortorella acknowledged that his club played sloppy at times Wednesday night, and he wasn't comfortable playing all four lines, but singled out Kreider.

"He just hasn't played well," he said. "That's something we're really going to have to talk about because I still think he needs to go through the process. What's best for Chris and us, we have to make a decision there . . . because I don't want a situation here, as far as the scrutiny on this club, to hurt him. We need to be really careful how we deal with a kid with a number of assets to make sure that the process is correct for him."

Without a training camp to help his development, Tortorella said, sending Kreider to the Connecticut Whale "shouldn't be a shock . . . I've seen players ruined because you put them in a situation and they just struggle and don't succeed, and they never come out of it and they're done, they're out of the game. I don't want to see that happen to him. But he has not played well and he knows that. He's not the only one who's struggled, but tonight was a battle for him, as far as understanding the positioning of the defense we play . . . that's a lot to ask of him as we start the season. ''

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