The holiday roster freeze begins at midnight Thursday night and ends Dec. 27, and it is certainly possible that the Rangers will make some moves before the deadline.

Both Taylor Pyatt, who has been scratched for three of the last four games, including Wednesday night, and Arron Asham, who has cleared waivers twice this season and has played only six games, are candidates for a transaction.

Pyatt, 32, who has one assist in 22 games and is a minus-9, suffered a concussion and missed eight games in November. The left wing, who played for coach Alain Vigneault in Vancouver, has size (6-4, 230) but appears to have lost a step in his 13th NHL season.

"After a strong training camp, he was given a lot of opportunities, whether it was on one of the top two lines, third, fourth and never really got his game going," Vigneault said after the morning skate at the Garden. "Right now he's on the outside looking in and I'm not sure where that's all going to go."

If a player clears waivers, he can be assigned to the AHL during the holiday period.

Rookie defenseman Dylan McIlrath, who made his NHL debut against Calgary on Sunday, also was a healthy scratch, but it appears he will remain with the team. Vigneault has said that with four games in six nights, he would carry a spare defenseman.

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Look out, Ulf!

Penguins rookie defenseman Philip Samuelsson, the son of Rangers assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson, played against his father for the first time. "I think in the second period I'll get him with a water-bottle squirt," joked Philip, who grew up in Connecticut when his dad was a Hartford Whaler. "No, I'll just try and focus on the game."

He said he was sure that his dad would provide a scouting report. "He probably knows me better than anyone else, he'll give his guys a pretty good indication of what I can do." But he acknowledged that Ulf, who retired in 2000, has offered plenty of advice. "I think his knowledge is pretty limitless, he's still around the rink today so he's seen (the game) evolve from when he's played."