CALGARY, Alberta – Sometimes, especially when a team is having a hard time on the ice, it’s good to take a day off from the rink. And the Rangers did that Thursday when, instead of practicing, the entire team went to a different kind of rink and did a little curling for a fun day of team bonding.
“I think we do travel, we spend a lot of time together, it’s fun to get together, but for a different reason,’’ said Henrik Lundqvist, who said he had curled once before, when he was about 10 years old. “It’s fun to compete, whether it’s hockey or it’s something else. I think we enjoyed that.’’
Lundqvist, Jesper Fast, Mika Zibanejad and Freddie Claesson competed as Team Sweden (Lias Andersson got exiled to Team Europe). According to Lundqvist, Sweden is traditionally one of the strongest teams in curling at the Olympics. However, the Swedes lost in the final of the team tournament to the coaching staff.
“It looked like some of them had played before,’’ Lundqvist said.
“The coaches were actually good. Lindy (Ruff) was good,’’ Jimmy Vesey said. “The Americans weren’t so good.’’
Lundqvist said the players rotated positions, so players took turns throwing the stone and sweeping for the stone. The final match came down to the last stone, Lundqvist said.
“It was fun,’’ he said. “It was something different.’’
Coach David Quinn made just one lineup change, re-inserting Connor Brickley on the fourth line and sitting out Boo Nieves. Defenseman Freddie Claesson was the other healthy scratch… Brendan Lemieux turned 23 on Friday… After the game, the Rangers were scheduled to fly to Minnesota, where they will wrap up the trip with a game against the Wild on Saturday. . . . … The Rangers signed free-agent forward Jake Elmer, 20, to an entry-level contract Friday. Elmer has played in 66 games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and scored 38 goals, with 40 assists for 78 points. He is 6-1, 190 pounds and is from Calgary.