Prediction: Derek Stepan will be selected for All-Star Rookie team. Not really going out on a limb here. Check the stats. He’s got 23 points, tied for third, going into tonight’s game. Deserves it. Rangers under consideration for captains’ picks? Lundqvist, Staal, Dubinsky.
Ryan McDonagh, being put through conditioning drills on the stopwatch after the optional by assistant coach Mike Sullivan, will be seventh D on the trip, barring some unforeseen events tonight. He was one of six Rangers at optional here in Westchester: Dale Weise, Mats Zuccarello, Artem Anisimov, Martin Biron and Mike Sauer. Zuke was pleased to hear that Norwegian traffic on the team’s official web site is up 8 percent from last year. Passed Canada’s 7.1 percent, according to the club.
No skating yet for Boogaard (concussion), Callahan (whose broken hand will be checked out at Garden tonight and may be cleared to skate soon), Prospal and Christensen (knees).
Did you know that Biron threw a first pitch to the Phillie Fanatic when the Flyers were in the playoffs? “They didn’t even give me a catcher,” he said. Biron stood just in front of the mound and threw one high and inside. Somehow we got to talking about superstitions and Biron thought it strange when Phillies PR folks told him not to step on the foul line while headed to the bump. “'Bad luck,' they said. Never heard of that for somebody who wasn’t a player. They didn’t care what I did to the mound, though.”