Wednesday was a hectic day for Kris Knoblauch and Gord Murphy, who went from coaching practice for the AHL Wolf Pack in Hartford in the morning to coaching the Rangers in their 7:30 p.m. start against the Flyers at Madison Square Garden.
Thursday was more normal.
"It feels more like a regular coaching day, where we just finished the game (Wednesday night), where we're reviewing a game on video, and talking within the assistants,’’ Knoblauch said after he, Murphy, Rangers goaltending coach Benoit Allaire, and skills coach Mark Ciaccio ran practice before the team left for a weekend trip to Washington, where the Rangers will play the Capitals on Friday and Saturday.
Knoblauch, Murphy and Rangers associate GM Chris Drury, who guided the Rangers to a 9-0 victory over the Flyers Wednesday, will get a chance to do it again in Washington, as the Rangers’ coaching staff – coach David Quinn, and assistants Jacques Martin, David Oliver and Greg Brown – remain unavailable due to COVID-19 protocols.
Defenseman Ryan Lindgren, who played for Knoblauch and Murphy in Hartford, before his call-up to the Rangers last season, gave them an enthusiastic endorsement.
"They're two, just outstanding people, and great coaches,’’ Lindgren said. "They’re very easy to talk to (and) so smart with the game, too. And they did a great job last night, and so yeah, we're excited to have them, and I think they're going to do a great job.’’
Knoblauch, who is in his second year coaching Hartford, said he was pulled off the ice near the end of practice Wednesday and told he was likely going to coach the Rangers that night, and that he should pack a bag, because he might be going on the weekend road trip, too. He did pack the bag, he said, but after the game, he realized he may not have packed enough.
Knoblauch, 42, admitted that being behind an NHL bench Wednesday was "exciting.’’
"And even though there was about (1,800) fans last night, it didn't feel like that,’’ he said. "I felt that they were very vocal, and into the game. And, just being behind the bench, being able to call out lines and being part of the victory, it's memorable. Of all my coaching memories, this will be one of the most significant ones.’’
Knoblauch said he was in constant contact with Quinn all day Wednesday and Thursday. The entire game plan for Wednesday had already been put together by Quinn and his staff, including the talking points Quinn wanted Knoblauch to go over with the team.
Notes & quotes: Chris Kreider did not practice Thursday. The Rangers called it a "maintenance’’ day . . . Goaltender Igor Shesterkin, who has missed seven games with a groin injury, did practice, and Knoblauch said he "is a possibility for this weekend.’’ Alexandar Georgiev, who earned the shutout Wednesday, will start Friday, "and then we’ll go from there,’’ Knoblauch said . . . D Anthony Bitetto, who has missed 11 games with a lower-body injury, was assigned to Hartford to play some games as part of his rehab. He played in Thursday’s 5-4 OT loss to Bridgeport… Pat Boller, an assistant coach and assistant GM at Hartford, coached the Wolf Pack.