Hello from Broad Street:
Chris Kreider, who hasn’t played well defensively, is a scratch tonight, a move that was pretty much signaled by coach John Tortorella post-game last night when Kreider was benched for most of the second and third periods.
After an optional skate here at Wells Fargo Center, Kreider, a mature youngster, took it in stride.
“You learn something every single game defensively,” he said. “There’s so many good players in this league. In my case, it forces me to do things I’m not used to…There’s a lot of reaction and reads and stuff they do here that I’m not used to, I’m starting to pick it up and I’m looking forward continuing and improving every game. In the AHL there are a bunch of things I picked up and a bunch of things you have to learn the hard way. They do a really good job in the AHL instituting a similar defensive system, a lot more detail oriented here. I don’t think the spotlight has anything to do with it; it’s just the level of play and the speed, it makes for a completely different reads and reaction time. Said it was mentally more challenging here. I don’t think you change how you prepare mentally, In the AHL, you’re not just showing up and playing…It would benefit me, I trust the organization, I trust all the decisions they make.”
Said Ryan Callahan: “He’s young still, everybody put a lot of expectations on him, coming off the playoffs he had, he’s still young, he’s still learning, but you can see how good he’s going to be, he’s got a lot of size, his speed, his shot, you just have to be patient, still learning the game and the speed of it.”
The 0-3 Flyers will be without Brayden Schenn (suspended), Daniel Briere (wrist) and Scott Hartnell (foot), but the Rangers are wary.
“They are in the same situation we were last night,” he said. As for last season’s 6-0 record against Philly: “All the games were close, they could’ve went either way.”
Callahan said Taylor Pyatt’s addition to his line with Derek Stepan was a plus. “Pie-sy is a big body, he helped us with pucks down low. I think it’s something that our line needed, just to create some offensive zone time and he ends up coming up with a pretty big goal there at the end for us. I think that’s gong to be the strength of our line, if we stay together, just holding on to pucks down low creating a cycle and try to bring pucks to the net.”
Kris Newbury, who will wear No. 28, arrived here from Hartford and sub for Asham on the fourth line. Newbury, who was pointless in seven games last year with the Blueshirts (and 24 penalty minutes), was the leading scorer for the Whale with 15 goals and 21 assists in 40 games, as well as 94 PIMs. He last dressed for the Rangers in a 4-1 loss to Montreal on Jan. 15, 2012.
Asham, who strained his groin against the Penguins on Sunday and didn’t play on Wednesday, skated with about a dozen teammates, and said that he was hoping to play Sunday at MSG against the Maple Leafs.
The groin isn’t a recurring issue, Asham said. “Not at all, maybe twice have I really pulled my groin. Just one of those things, not blaming it on short camps. I was expecting to feel like I did today; it’s a work in progress, and I don’t want to get in there early and do even more damage and be out even longer. We want to play it safe and we want to make sure it’s 100 percent. Skate again tomorrow and have my mind set on playing Saturday, so hopefully, my body agrees with my mind.”
Matt Gilroy is also expected to be scratched for the fourth straight game…The Rangers acquired Benn Ferriero, 25, who was a college teammate of Brian Boyle’s, from Pittsburgh for Chad Kolarik, who was selected to the AHL All-Star team and had 35 points for the Whale. He tore his ACL in Rangers camp last season. Ferriero has 92 NHL games under his belt with the Sharks, (14-8-22)…