GREENBURGH, N.Y. - The Rangers decided back in training camp that 26-year-old goalie Cam Talbot was ready for his first NHL action. But they waited until Tuesday to call him up.
Talbot replaced veteran netminder Martin Biron, who cleared waivers at noon and has to decide if he wants to report to Hartford or retire. The Rangers will give the popular 36-year-old time to think it over.
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Talbot hopes it's his time to become a reliable backup to Henrik Lundqvist. It's not a glamorous job, but somebody's got to do it.
"It feels unbelievable," Talbot said after practice as the Rangers prepared for Wednesday night's game in Washington. "I was pretty excited, as you can imagine. My first call-up. Just trying to make the best of it and just help the team out where I can."
Coach Alain Vigneault said goaltending coach Benoit Allaire believed Talbot was ready during training camp. So when Biron put up a 7.61 goals-against average and .763 save percentage in two appearances (one start) in the Rangers' first five games, Talbot was summoned.
"On the goaltending position, I trust Benoit Allaire," Vigneault said. "That's a position there where the coach and the goaltender have a real special rapport. In Cam's case, Benoit has been saying to me for quite some time he feels he's ready. He said that throughout training camp, that he was ready to take the next step."
"We gave him some games. He played well and we made the decision a couple of days ago to make a change there."
Talbot was signed as an undrafted free agent in March 2010. The Caledonia, Ontario, native was 2-0-1 with a 2.54 goals-against average and .981 save percentage in three games for Hartford this season.
"He's a great goalie, a great guy," Lundqvist said. "I look forward to working with him . . . It's sad to see Marty go. Got to know him really well over the years and had a great relationship. But at the same time we're working to get to know Talbot a little better."
Notes & quotes: The Rangers also recalled forward J.T. Miller, who skated with Dominic Moore and Derek Dorsett in practice. Miller scored four goals in three games with Hartford since being sent down . . . Forward Arron Asham cleared waivers and was assigned to Hartford . . . Michael Del Zotto (flu) did not accompany the team to Washington and is unlikely to play tonight.