Derick Brassard demands a lot out of himself

Derick Brassard skates in warmups before playing his

Derick Brassard skates in warmups before playing his first game as a Ranger against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden. (April 3, 2013) Photo Credit: Getty

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GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Derick Brassard had been busting it. A dark, thick line of sweat stretched across the back of his gray jersey. When he removed his helmet, a red mark glowed where it had pressed into his forehead. It looked as if the 25-year-old center had just finished another overtime game against the Islanders rather than practice.

Despite setting up the only goal at Nassau Coliseum on Saturday night by threading a tape-to-tape pass to Dan Girardi in overtime, Brassard wasn't satisfied with his performance. He pushed himself hard before the Rangers headed to Philadelphia for Tuesday night's game against the Flyers.

"It was not my best game,'' said Brassard, who arrived from Columbus in the trade for Marian Gaborik on April 3. "It was a good learning experience for me; the atmosphere was really intense, really crazy. On the ice, they really came after us. I just want to bounce back tomorrow.''

Brassard's pass gave him five assists, plus a goal, in six games as a Ranger, a point-per-game pace, and he is 5-7-12 in his last 17 games. But Brassard said he wasn't himself on Long Island and vowed to snap back.

"Just the way I managed the puck,'' said Brassard, who had four goals and two assists in his 11 games previous to the deal. "I needed to make better puck decisions . . . and just the energy I had; I had more jump in other games. When I play good is when I skate and make good decisions. In overtime, that's my game, that's how I needed to play . . . That doesn't reflect the three other periods I played.''

In that kind of fast-paced game, Brassard, who had one shot, one giveaway and two hits in 19:22 against the Islanders, needed his legs, "but some nights they're not going to be there. You're gonna have some nights off, but you've got to make sure the next night you bounce back.''

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Brassard, a plus-1 with the Rangers but a minus player with Columbus the past three seasons, seemed disappointed in his defense, and coach John Tortorella appeared to agree. "I don't really pay attention to production,'' Brassard said. "I just worry about the way I play, and production's going to come after.''

Tortorella savored the skill and timing of the setup pass to Girardi but was measured in his praise. "He makes a big play; he's made some good offensive plays,'' he said. "I think he's learning some of the other things. We're anxious to keep on progressing with him. He's got a ways to go, absolutely.''

There will be time for that: Brassard is signed through next season and then will be a restricted free agent.

Born in Hull, Quebec, Brassard, who was selected No. 6 overall in the 2006 draft by Columbus, is adjusting to the surroundings.

"It's the first time I've been moved,'' he said. "New team, new style, new faces. We had a lot of new faces in Columbus [including former Rangers Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov in the Rick Nash trade]. They wanted to bring new energy for us, and that's what I want to do here.''

Brassard is adapting well, Rangers captain Ryan Callahan said. "He's come in and right away wanted to contribute,'' Callahan said. "I think that has to do with confidence and it has to do with guys he's been playing with; he's been good so far.''

Notes & quotes: Given the workload, Henrik Lundqvist is "probably not'' going to start all seven of the remaining games, Tortorella said . . . RW Derek Dorsett, whose clavicle was broken on a hit March 7 while with Columbus, was cleared to skate and did so before practice . . . D Marc Staal (eye) is expected to join the team for an optional morning skate Wednesday.

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