GREENBURGH, N.Y. — In the Rangers dressing room after practice the other day, Josh Jooris was humming a familiar, driving melody.
An equipment staffer noted: “James Bond, huh?” Jooris looked at him quizzically. A nearby writer interjected: “Live and Let Die’, McCartney and Wings, recorded it for the movie.” Jooris didn’t quite make the connection. After all, he is 26. The movie was released in 1973.
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No matter. The past is history to the center from Burlington, Canada, who attended Union College in Schenectady. Only the present counts. He is battling for a job.
As the team’s 13th forward, Jooris, who agreed to a one-year, $600,000 contract in July after playing the last two seasons with Calgary, will play his second straight game Wednesday when the Red Wings visit, because Pavel Buchnevich remains out with back spasms. Oscar Lindberg, who is recovering from hip surgery and expected to return next month, is competing for the spot with Jooris.
After a groin injury in the first preseason game cost him valuable time to show coaches what he could offer, Jooris finally made his Rangers debut on Monday against the Sharks, centering a fourth line of Brandon Pirri and Michael Grabner. He played 9:59, with two shots on goal, three hits and won five of six faceoffs.
“I liked what I saw,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “I thought he was a little quicker than what I had seen; his knowledge and understanding of the game seems good. Right now, he’s getting a good opportunity. It’s his job to force our hand to keep him.”
Jooris played 119 games for the Flames, with 16 goals and 21 assists. “It’s good to get the first one out of the way,” he said Tuesday. “Faceoffs are something I take pride in; had some good bounces. I think we played a role . . . Our line did a good job limiting scoring chances and playing a strong two-way game.”
Notes & quotes: Defenseman Kevin Klein, who missed the first three games with back spasms, said he is ready to play against Detroit (1-2) . . . Dan Girardi, who strained his groin Saturday, will not dress, but Vigneault expected him to skate in the next few days. Vigneault will decide which of the seven healthy defensemen will sit after watching film of Detroit’s 5-1 defeat of Ottawa on Monday . . . Ryan McDonagh did not practice. He was with his wife, who delivered their first child, a daughter, Falan Erin.