Unrestricted free agent Dan Girardi, who along with Rangers captain Ryan Callahan has been dealing with stalemated contract talks and trade rumors as the March 5 trade deadline approaches, said after Thursday night's win that he was hopeful that a new long-term pact could be reached.
"We'll see what happens," said the defenseman, who played 22:59 with five blocked shots and four hits. "We'll be working here in the next few days hopefully and we'll try to bang something out here and in the meantime, I'll go about my job . . . Once you get here -- morning skate or in the game, it's the last thing on my mind."
Steve Bartlett, the agent for Callahan, who played 18:23 and had three hits and three blocks, confirmed Thursday that the sides had spoken recently after a long hiatus, but declined to discuss if there was any progress.
Both players are seeking lucrative long-term deals, but it is believed that if agreements aren't met, Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather Sather will trade them rather than have them walk without compensation.
J.T. Miller, 20, summoned from Hartford to replace Mats Zuccarello, skated on the third line, played 12:18 with two shots and a penalty and was awarded a secondary assist on Derick Brassard's goal. "J.T. has the potential to play in the top nine," coach Alain Vigneault said. " . . . I thought for the most part he played pretty smart in a big game for us." . . . Three Olympians created the game- winner: Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin assisted on Rick Nash's goal.
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