GREENBURGH, N.Y. - "Anything is possible," said Matt Gilroy, who last year at about this time was a witness to an "anything." So he is hopeful despite the Rangers' dicey situation because he saw the power of possibility in the college Frozen Four.
When you win an NCAA championship game after having been down two goals with a minute left, you don't get discouraged when you are four or six points out of a playoff spot with seven games to go. The only problem for Gilroy is that he will have to supply optimism from the press box, because he is expected to be a healthy scratch Tuesday nightat Nassau Coliseum.
That will be a disappointment: The Long Island kid doesn't get to play on the Island with his team's season on the line. But that says something about the Rangers' urgency. Now is not the time for growing, it is the time for doing, and coach John Tortorella still is not convinced of Gilroy on defense.
Gilroy didn't play in Toronto on Saturday after Anders Eriksson was recalled from Hartford. "I keep working at it," North Bellmore product Gilroy said. So how is the work going? "I'm in the NHL," he said.
"This is part of the process for Gilly," Tortorella said. "I thought Eriksson played well. You can just see his puck-handling and his poise with the puck. No one told Gilroy or any first-year player, or really anybody, that they're going to play all the games."
Besides, the defensemen aren't nearly the concern that the forwards are. Sean Avery and Ryan Callahan will be out with what appear to be knee injuries. Avery said on Twitter Monday that the two of them were going for therapy involving enriched platelets (tissue engineering). Brian Boyle is out with an ankle injury. And the big guns weren't so hot in Saturday's 3-2 overtime loss in Toronto. Tortorella said P.A. Parenteau, also recalled from Hartford, was the Rangers' best forward.
"That's great for him. It's not good for our hockey team," Tortorella said. "He can't be our best forward."
Parenteau's minor-league linemate, Corey Locke, was recalled Monday in hopes he can offer some of the energy that has helped him collect 11 points in nine games. Signed as a free agent, the 5-9 center played one game for the Canadiens two years ago and sees this as a great opportunity.
Gilroy will wait for his next opportunity. With Miami of Ohio reaching the Frozen Four again with a double-overtime win Sunday night, he just couldn't help reflecting on his assist with 17.4 seconds left for Boston University last April, tying Miami of Ohio on the way to an overtime win.
"I still can't believe that happened," he said. "I guess some things in life are supposed to happen. Right to the last minute, anything can happen."