In the visitors' locker room here in New Jersey, J.T. Miller, 19, the first-round pick in 2011, said he “was anxious” just hours before he was to make his Rangers debut. Playing in the World Juniors last month, and winning the gold medal with team USA, has been beneficial, he said. “It was a big tournament for us on Russian soil; I guess it helps," h said. "(Tonight) I’ll try to keep it simple, play hard…I just want to get better and better every shift of the game, the first one might be a little shaky, but I'm just trying to play my role, try not to overthink it and try not to do much, skate hard. Just going to treat it like a normal game…bring a lot of energy, stick within the system.”
“We want to take a look,” said coach John Tortorella. “If things happen in a good way, we’ll keep playing him, but we certainly are always thinking of developing players the right way…I watched him during the lockout, and the world juniors; his game has really grown, he had a really good tournament and has become really consistent in Hartford.”
“We give him just a little bit of foundation, try to take a little pressure off of him, you need to get out of his way; whoever plays tonight, you need to let them play. There will be some mistakes made; as we keep on going through the process here, and it’s a little different because of the length of the season, we’ll make decisions…Do we think its best to keep him here and coach his mistakes or does he need to go back down and continue playing?"
Miller, a center/wing, is eligible to play five NHL games before burning a year of his entry-level contract.
Asked if he felt his game will be an easy fit with the Blueshirts, Darroll Powe, who arrived here from Phoenix, where the Wild were playing, said: “Definitely. I’ve watched the Rangers, they play a simple, hard game.” And he was aware of the rivalries in the Atlantic Division. “I spent three years in Philly, so I got to know this area well. Seems like every team the Rangers play is a big rivalry.”
Powe, 27, who, like Jeff Halpern, played at Princeton University, understands that he is a role player and will likely center the fourth line. The trade, he said, was “initially a surprise” but knows Arron Asham and Martin Biron from their stint as Flyers. “Nice to see some familiar faces.”
Here’s Torts on Powe and Mike Rupp: Powe is “a guy that can kill penalties, has played in the league, does a lot of little things on the boards, certainly adds to our depth in different situations…we’re happy to get him. Rupper, I don’t have a bad word to say about him, I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, I had a tough time getting him on the ice as much as I wanted to, I was just worried about the speed of the game; he certainly brings some jam and has been a really good teammate. I’m a little concerned about the middle of our lineup and the versatility we do not have right now, I think it’s a good thing for Rupper, towards the end of his career, he’s going to go play, I think this young man we brought in here is going to help us…Again the biggest thing for me was just the pace of the game, and we do add some depth…