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Micheal Haley provides enforcement for Rangers

The Islanders' Michael Haley, right, fights with Calgary's

The Islanders' Michael Haley, right, fights with Calgary's Brandon Prust during a preseason game in 2009. (September 19, 2009) Credit: AP

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The Rangers called up 10 players from the Connecticut Whale the other day to be part of a playoff practice squad dubbed the "Black Aces.''

One already has graduated: Former Islander Micheal Haley, who played in nine games for the Rangers last month, will practice with the big club and travel for the team's playoff opener on Thursday against the Washington Capitals.

Will the rugged Haley see any ice time? It depends on whether the Rangers believe they need an enforcer against the Capitals.

"He's the type of guy that brings a lot of energy,'' captain Ryan Callahan said Monday. "He throws his body around. He's one of those sparks, I think, when you're on the ice in the playoffs that you need. It gives a boost to your team when you need it. You know he'll do anything for the team to win. He's a good guy to have in the lineup.''

Haley, 27, is 5-10, 204 pounds. He had 12 penalty minutes in his brief Rangers stint. He knows why he was added to the roster.

Asked if he thought the three days the Rangers have before Game 1 will help him get to know the Capitals, Haley said: "You could put me against anybody and I'm going to do the same things. It doesn't really matter to me if I have three days or three months. I've got one train of thought.''

That train? As Haley put it, "Hittin' and bangin' and skatin' hard.''

Haley did that for parts of the last three seasons with the Islanders, playing in a total of 43 games in his first NHL experience. He had two goals, one assist and 151 penalty minutes.

Haley signed a two-year deal with the Rangers on July 1 and spent most of the season in the AHL. When the Whale didn't make the playoffs, he learned he was going to join the Rangers, but he didn't know in what capacity.

"I didn't know if I was going to be with the team or the Black Aces or whatever,'' he said. "It's the same thing as always. Just whatever I can do. It's huge. Obviously, this is where you want to play and when I get in I want to make the most of my opportunities to do whatever they need me to do.''

As for the Islanders, Haley said he was excited about the franchise's first playoff appearance since 2007.

"It's been a long time,'' he said. "I'm sure they're pretty excited. Hopefully a lot of people show up and they have a good crowd and a good atmosphere. It's a good place to play.''

New York Sports