He’s gone from city to surf and Carl Hagelin, who played his entire career in the Rangers organization before being traded, seems to have adjusted to California.
“It’s unique in its own way,” said Hagelin, who was drafted by the Rangers in 2007 and shipped to the Ducks last summer because the Rangers could not afford the salary that the speedy left wing may have commanded. “You wake up in the morning, it’s sunny, you drive 15 minutes in flip-flops and shorts to the rink. So it’s a different vibe, not as intense as it is here.”
The 27-year-old Swede, who later signed a four-year, $16-million deal with Anaheim, said there were no substantive negotiations with the Rangers, who he faced at the Garden on Tuesday night.
“They called up and said it was a business decision, said it was all about the cap,” he said. “It came as a surprise, it really did, but when it happened, I just started looking at the positives.” It took a week or two to move past his time with the Blueshirts, he said.
Hagelin, with his long blond locks still curling out from under his helmet Tuesday, expected to feel a little awkward on his first few shifts against former teammates. But he did expect that it would “probably be emotional” when he was recognized during the first period with a tribute on the GardenVision scoreboard. Hagelin was on the bench and got warm applause from the Garden crowd.
“It’s a special night,” said Hagelin. “I haven’t seen this much media the entire season.”
He wasn’t a factor, however, playing 14:09 with no shots, a hit and two blocked shots. He also was rocked on hits by Chris Summers and Dylan McIlrath in the first four minutes of the game.
Injured defensemen Kevin Klein and Dan Girardi remained out and Alain Vigneault said he hoped they would be ready to play after the four-day holiday break that begins Wednesday, “but it’s hard to say at this point.” Girardi (right knee) missed his fifth consecutive game. He skated with the team for the first time since Dec. 13 after some ice time on his own Monday. Klein (sprained oblique) practiced but was sidelined for the 11th straight game. Goalie Antti Raanta (head injury) has not skated since he was struck in the mask with a shot in Minnesota on Dec. 17 . . . Viktor Stalberg was scratched for the second consecutive game . . . The Rangers’ next game is Monday in Nashville.