Derick Brassard, Scott Arniel move past problems of 2011
GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Don't expect any fallout from the testy relationship two seasons ago in Columbus between center Derick Brassard and former Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel, now the associate coach of the Rangers.
In December 2011, when Brassard had only four points in 17 games, Arniel scratched him for seven games. Agent Allan Walsh ripped Arniel publicly, saying he was using his client as "a scapegoat'' for his own failures and those of the struggling team.
On Friday, Brassard, 25, and Arniel said they have moved on.
"You see the class of Derick, the day I got hired here, he called me the next day,'' Arniel said. "We had a great conversation and I told him how proud I was to watch him play here last year and how great he played.
"As a head coach in Columbus or wherever, you're always going to have situations, whether it's a different opinion or an ice-time issue. Those things happen. There's nothing personal. That just happens in this game. We've turned the page.''
Arniel, who said the furor "was created'' by Walsh's comments, recalled the issue "had more to do with that we had made the trade for [Jeff] Carter, had drafted Ryan Johansson, we had Antoine Vermette, Derek McKenzie, we had a lot of centermen, and we had asked Derick to move to the wing.
"Our whole team struggled early on and Derick, point-wise, didn't get off to a great start. It was something we had decided as an organization to do, and it didn't quite work out as we had hoped.''
Brassard said he told Arniel he had "no hard feelings'' and added, "I think Arnie could be a great addition to our forwards and power play.''
Notes & quotes: Goalie Martin Biron, back after dealing with a family matter, will face competition from former Devil Johan Hedberg, coach Alain Vigneault said. With a condensed schedule because of the Olympics, the backup will play 15 to 20 games. "We need a backup that can win us some games,'' Vigneault said. "That's part of the equation to get into the playoffs and to be able to have a goaltender, come playoff time, have some energy and jump in his legs.'' . . . After preseason games in Newark and Philadelphia next week, the team will make cuts and go west with 37 or 38 players . . . Derek Stepan missed his third day in a contract stalemate.