First, the Rangers had to figure out on Wednesday what they were most reeling from — a loss on Tuesday to the Devils that coach David Quinn called "sickening" or the broken thumb that will keep Jacob Trouba out four to six weeks.
Quinn declined to say how Trouba was injured, but it appears as if the defenseman was hit with a puck in the second period on Tuesday. The Rangers announced the severity of the injury on Wednesday.
"It’s a big blow," Quinn said. "We’re going to miss everything he brings, from a physicality standpoint, from a compete standpoint, from what he beings to us from a leadership standpoint. He’ll be missed. But the good news it’s not as serious as we originally thought and he’s going to be back sooner than later."
Once the remaining Rangers absorbed the Trouba news, they had to put their recent hard times behind them and have a good practice before Thursday’s game against the Flyers in Philadelphia.
At least that mission was accomplished — one of the few the Rangers have accomplished during their four-game losing streak.
"We were all [ticked] off [Tuesday] night," Quinn said. "No one more than I was. Let the dust settle and you’ve got to corral your emotions here. We’ve got to move past it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. That’s certainly been talked about.
"We had a good practice. I was actually encouraged by our practice because losing can wear on you . . . I think that might be the case a little bit right now. We don’t have any swagger. We don’t have any confidence to the level we need to win. But that’s something we need to find from within. We can’t just drop a pill in their water — give ’em confidence pills — it has to come from within. We’ve got to get out of it."
So how do they? And how do they explain falling so flat in a 5-2 loss to a Devils team that hadn’t played in 16 days because of COVID-19 quarantines?
"Good question," Ryan Strome said. "I think if we had the answers, I think we wouldn’t be asking those questions."
Quinn is asking those questions. Of his players, and of himself.
"As a coach, you always feel like it’s on you," he said. "It’s just a sickening, sickening feeling. Unless you’ve been coaching, it’s hard to explain."
Quinn did say that he believed Tuesday night’s lack of effort made the game an "outlier" — not something the Rangers have done before or plan to repeat again.
"Hey, listen," Quinn said. "I know what our record is [4-7-3]. I know what our record is. Nobody’s happy with it. But effort hasn’t been our problem. Competing hasn’t been our problem. It was [Tuesday] night and it was an outlier."
Notes & quotes: K'Andre Miller, Artemi Panarin and Jack Johnson returned to practice. Miller and Panarin are expected to play on Thursday . . . The Flyers haven’t played since Feb. 7 because of COVID-19 protocols. They are expected to be without six regulars on Thursday.