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73° Good Afternoon

Chris Kreider sent to AHL; J.T. Miller staying for now

Chris Kreider leaves the ice after being hit

Chris Kreider leaves the ice after being hit by Brooks Orpik #44 of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the final minute of play at Madison Square Garden. (Jan. 20, 2013) Credit: Getty

Rookie Chris Kreider, who was a healthy scratch last night, has been assigned to the AHL, apparently to get in some game time. 

Kreider, 21, had a goal and assist in seven games; he missed five others, from Jan. 24 to Feb. 2, with a bone chip in his right ankle,

The move leaves the Rangers with 12 forwards, including J.T. Miller, 19, who has played five NHL games. If he plays another, say Sunday against the Capitals, he would burn a year on his three-year entry-level contract, which is worth $2.775 million. 

 The Whale have three home games this weekend, tonight against the Portland Pirates, the Norfolk Admirals Saturday and the Manchester Monarchs on Sunday, and Kreider will pay some if not all of them.

Tortorella, in a response to my pre-game question last night, said Miller was moved from center to wing to remove him from some defensive responsibilities as a pivot,  Brian Boyle's experience at C and his performance against the Isles after returning from a three-game benching likely played a hand in the Kreider move.

Specifically, Torts said Miller: "has struggled down low as far as the coverage…we’re going to slowly try to teach him coverages. I want to put him in spots where he doesn’t have to make so many reads in the defensive zone...I don’t think Chris has done anything poorly, I don’t think he’s done anything really good either. Brian Boyle needs to be a big part of this and he’ll get a chance.”…

Miller, who scored twice against the Islanders in his MSG debut on Feb. 7, but hasn;t scored since and seen his ice time diminish, could practice tomorrow and watch Sunday;  D Stu Bickel could play upfront and a player such as Benn Ferriero, or even Kreider, could be recalled at some point.

The Rangers aren't practicing today, so Tortorella is not available for comment.

New York Sports