Starting Thursday, the Rangers will begin the All-Star break, their third hiatus of the season. The holiday break was three days. The NHL-mandated five-day “bye week” for each team, new this season and which occurs at different times before Feb. 28, was from Jan. 8-12 for the Rangers.
For most teams, the All-Star break, around the annual game in Los Angeles, begins Friday.
If he had a choice, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault would like to see the league extend the All-Star break by two days rather than have the staggered five-day break.
“I’d probably prefer, on this one, to have two extra days,” he said. “You’re losing a day for traveling and losing a day to come back,” leaving just two days off. “Why not give this one a couple more days, it makes more sense, doesn’t it? If they wanted a five-day break, have it here, and you’d save traveling costs. Just my opinion.”
Staal getting closer
Marc Staal, wearing a regular jersey, joined the team for the morning skate for the first time since he suffered a concussion on Jan. 3 against the Sabres. The defenseman is expected to practice and play after the All-Star break . . . Jesper Fast skated wearing a non-contact jersey. He has not yet healed from an upper-body injury, believed to be his left shoulder, sustained on a hit against Dallas on Jan. 17 . . . It was the 770th game as a Ranger for Dan Girardi. He is two away from tying Adam Graves for ninth on the all-time list.
Alumni game raises money
Rangers Assist, an initiative in partnership with Chase, hosted an alumni charity game and silent auction at Cantiague Park in Hicksville to benefit Long Island Arrows Youth Hockey and raised more than $70,000. Graves, Brian Mullen, Ron Greschner, Tom Laidlaw, Ron Duguay and Glenn Anderson skated in Friday’s game.