Initially, Quinn didn’t plan on using it. Then his team committed 10 penalties and lost to the Avalanche, 6-1, on Friday night in the opener of their three-game western trip.
“Listen, you know, there are some times when a game dictates whether you’re going to practice or not,’’ Quinn said after his team skated through a short but intense practice at the Arizona Coyotes’ practice rink here. “My original plan was to not [practice], and then after watching the game, I thought that we needed to practice.’’
Kevin Hayes, though, did not participate. The 26-year-old center, who sat out Friday’s game because of a lingering upper-body injury originally suffered in mid-December, remains out on a day-to-day basis, Quinn said.
“One of the things with Hayesie, this is more of a nagging thing — it’s not anything serious,’’ he said. “And with him, he’s such a quick healer, you think he’s going to be out for three or four days and boom, he’s coming back. So it’s still day-to-day. He wasn’t good enough to skate today, but it’s really just a nagging injury.’’
Mika Zibanejad, the team’s No. 1 center and leading scorer, also did not practice Saturday, but that, Quinn said, was just normal “maintenance.’’ Zibanejad’s status for Sunday’s game is not in question.
Hayes’ status, though, is something of a problem for the Rangers. The second-line center is the team’s second-leading scorer (10 goals, 23 points), and the 23-man roster includes two extra defensemen and only one extra forward. So if the 6-5, 216-pound Hayes is unavailable, the Rangers will have only 12 healthy forwards, meaning they don’t have a spare forward and therefore no lineup flexibility up front.
Quinn was asked if the Rangers might need to make a roster move to bring up an extra forward from their Hartford farm team. He inhaled deeply before answering carefully.
“Right now, we won’t, but that’s something we’ll talk about later today,’’ he said. “Because, again, we thought [Hayes] was going to be able to skate today, and that wasn’t the case.’’
The complication with making a call-up is that the Rangers are at the 23-man limit, so to bring a forward up, they’d need to put Hayes (or someone else) on injured reserve or send down a defenseman. And they can’t do that without passing that player through waivers.
Notes & quotes: Quinn said Henrik Lundqvist, who was pulled from his last start Wednesday against Pittsburgh, will start in goal against Arizona . . . D Brendan Smith partnered with Kevin Shattenkirk at practice, a possible indication that he might re-enter the lineup Sunday. Fredrik Claesson partnered with Tony DeAngelo.