Rangers center Vincent Trocheck skates with the puck against the...

Rangers center Vincent Trocheck skates with the puck against the Capitals during Game 1 of their NHL Eastern Conference first-round playoff series at Madison Square Garden on April 21. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Vincent Trocheck is a relaxed, easygoing guy, one who is always accommodating, patient, and illuminating in answering questions on a daily basis from the local media.

On Thursday, though, surrounded by reporters and television cameras after Rangers practice, all wanting to know his thoughts on facing his old team, the Carolina Hurricanes, in the upcoming second-round playoff series, Trocheck didn’t seem very comfortable at all.

“It's a playoff series that we need to get past to get to our goal of winning the Stanley Cup,’’ Trocheck said of playing Carolina, the team he played for before he signed with the Rangers as a free agent in the summer of 2022. “I mean, I've played against these guys a bunch of times already, since leaving . . . It happens. In this league, you move team-to-team and play against former teams. It's just another series.’’


Trocheck played for the Hurricanes when the Rangers beat them in seven games in the 2022 playoffs. He scored three goals in the series, one on the power play, one at even strength, and one shorthanded. And he was second in ice time among Carolina’s forwards in the series.

“It was a good series,’’ Trocheck said Thursday. “Tough. Hard-fought. It was a battle.’’

Trocheck tried to suggest that so many players who were on the Hurricanes then are no longer there, but 12 players who have played for Carolina in these playoffs played for them then, not including Jesper Fast, who is injured, but including Tony DeAngelo, who left for Philadelphia last year and returned to the Hurricanes this year.

And though Trocheck said there wasn’t much intel he could offer to the Rangers about his former club (“They play the same way every night, so what you see on tape is what you get,’’ he said) coach Peter Laviolette said having someone like Trocheck, who played on Carolina recently and may know their personnel well, is valuable.

“I think it's just a little bit of insight about how they play the game, or particular players,’’ Laviolette said. “There's information trying to be shared . . .  about the player, the opposition, the way they play, [their] power play, a penalty kill, a neutral zone forecheck, whatever it might be. Any information that you can have could be an advantage.’’

Mika Zibanejad, who has gone up against Carolina plenty during his time with the Rangers, said picking Trocheck’s brain about the Hurricanes absolutely could help.

“[You’re] doing everything you can to kind of prepare and make sure that you're well informed and ready for what tendencies, too, they have, and what they try to do,’’ Zibanejad said.

Fox sits out again

For the second straight day, defenseman Adam Fox did not practice, due to “maintenance,’’ the team said. Fox was uncomfortable following what appeared to be a knee-to-knee hit with Washington defenseman Nick Jensen during the Rangers’ Game 4 win over the Capitals to close out the first-round series.

Laviolette, who has been upfront in saying he won’t be giving much information regarding injuries or lineup decisions, was tight-lipped about Fox’s status. He was asked whether Fox would need to practice first before being able to play. (The Rangers didn’t know Thursday when Game 1 would be.)

“When our players return to the ice, they return to the ice,’’ the coach said. “And so if he's cleared for practice, he's cleared for practice.’’

In Fox’s absence, Zac Jones partnered with Fox’s regular partner, Ryan Lindgren, and forward Filip Chytil stood in for Fox at the point on the first power play unit. Erik Gustafsson, normally the point man on the second unit, stayed with that group, suggesting the Rangers expect Fox to be back for the games.

Waiting game

After taking Monday and Tuesday off and having hard practices Wednesday and Thursday, the Rangers are taking Friday off, while they await word on when Game 1 against Carolina will be.

“Right now we're just we're going about our business,’’ Laviolette said. “That's all I can do right now.’’

More Rangers


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months