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Rangers appreciate seeing Chris Kreider stick up for teammates

Rangers' Chris Kreider (20) grabs the jersey of

Rangers' Chris Kreider (20) grabs the jersey of New Jersey Devils' P.K. Subban (76) as they exchange words during the second period of an NHL preseason hockey game Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021. Credit: AP/Frank Franklin II

The Rangers were off on Thursday, so there was no word coming from the team on the status of forward Ryan Reaves, who left Wednesday’s 6-2 preseason victory over the Devils with a serious-looking left leg injury. After the game, coach Gerard Gallant described Reaves’ status as "day-to-day,’’ and downplayed the notion the 34-year-old could be out for an extended period.

"Not from what indications I've heard so far,’’ Gallant said.

But the injury did look bad when shown in slow motion on video replay.

"I saw the injury just once, on the big screen,’’ Rangers center Mika Zibanejad said after the game. "I don't want to see it again.’’

Chris Kreider took umbrage with the Devils’ P.K. Subban, who appeared to sweep Reaves’ leg out from under him as the two went into the corner for a loose puck, and Kreider had some words for Subban on the bench, and then tried to get him to fight on the drop of the puck on the opening faceoff of the second period. Subban didn’t want to fight then, but the two players tangled again on the opening faceoff of the third period.

And Kreider’s teammates appreciated the statement he made in going after Subban.

"It was great to see that from Kreids,’’ center, and former Devil, Kevin Rooney said. "I mean, we just went on a team bonding trip last weekend (in Rhode Island) and we're going to be a team that sticks together this year, no matter what happens. So, it was a great response by Kreids, one of our leaders in the locker room.’’

"Obviously it's nice to see Kreids do that,’’ Zibanejad said. "We're standing up for our teammates.’’

Gallant was asked after Tuesday’s practice in Rhode Island if the Rangers would soon name a captain and he promised that an announcement would be made before the team’s regular season opener next Wednesday in Washington. Kreider is considered one of the possible choices. Sticking up for a teammate in the manner in which he did would not hurt his candidacy.

As far as who can supply the toughness for the Rangers if Reaves is out for a time, Gallant seemed very impressed by defenseman Jarred Tinordi, whom he praised Wednesday.

"Big-bodied (6-6, 232) guy that does his job,’’ Gallant said of Tinordi. "There's nothing going to be fancy about ‘Tinner,’ but obviously, when ‘Reavo’ went out… they know Tinordi's a presence out there.’’

Blue notes

The Rangers trimmed their roster to 25 players Thursday by sending 20-year-old defenseman Zac Jones to AHL Hartford. Jones had played well in the preseason and challenged for a spot as the sixth defenseman, but Gallant seemed pleased with the way 21-year-old Nils Lundkvist played Wednesday and the team sent Jones down with one preseason game to go. The move leaves the Rangers with 25 in camp, including Reaves. They would need to trim two more players to get down to the NHL’s roster limit of 23. With Jones going down, eight defensemen remain in camp. Most likely they will keep seven.

New York Sports