With the third defensive pair turning into a revolving door in the past few weeks with Wade Redden, Matt Gilroy, Ilkka Heikkinen and Bobby Sanguinetti getting time, don't be surprised if a seventh defenseman's in town after the Christmas transaction freeze ends Sunday. "After Christmas, we have some decisions to make," coach John Tortorella said Wednesday, adding that a seventh defenseman "could be in our discussions."
To clear space, center Erik Christensen, who is pointless in seven games and was scratched, could be released. "I don't see him grabbing hold of that position," Tortorella said.
Gilroy and Redden were reunited for the second straight game last night; Redden had been benched for two games and Gilroy spent time in the AHL. "Gilly tried to engage, which is something we talked to him about as far as separating people from pucks, a little bit harder [against Carolina on Monday]," Tortorella said. "We know he can skate, we know he can pass the puck, but we want him to work on the things he needs to work on, so I thought he made some strides. Reds, I thought he had some good shifts, I thought he had some crappy shifts."
Centers of attention
All three Rangers prospects selected for the U.S. World Junior Championship team are pivots: Chris Kreider (Boxford, Mass.) was the Rangers first pick (19th overall) in last summer's draft. He is 2-3-5 and a plus-5 in 14 games for Boston College; Ryan Bourque (Beverly, Mass.) was the third-round selection last summer and is 12-12-27 in 31 games for the Quebec Remparts. Derek Stepan (Hastings, Minn.) was the club's second rounder in 2008 and is playing for the University of Wisconsin, where he is 5-17-22 in 18 games and plus-4.