The Rangers’ morning skate in Tarrytown had a different look to it as the team prepared for Thursday night’s game in Newark against the Devils.
Skating with the group in a red no-contact jersey was defenseman Jacob Trouba, who missed the previous six games with a broken thumb. In blue was forward Kaapo Kakko, who had missed five games while on the team’s COVID-19 list, and in white was defenseman Anthony Bitetto, out three games with what the team called a lower-body injury.
None of them played Thursday, and the lineup remained the same as it was for Tuesday’s 3-2 win over Buffalo. All are day-to-day, coach David Quinn said, and any or all could return on the current six-game road trip.
Not skating Thursday but also not far from returning, according to Quinn, was forward Artemi Panarin, who remains on leave from the team after the publication of an article in Russia in which his former KHL coach accused him of beating a woman in a hotel bar after a game in Riga, Latvia, in 2011.
"Every passing day he’s getting closer to playing,’’ Quinn said. "I’m not being a [expletive] when I say that to you. He’s getting to the point where I think he’s getting closer.’’
Draft picks nearing NHL
Vitali Kravtsov, the Rangers’ first of three first-round picks in 2018, scored a goal in Traktor Chelyabinsk’s 3-1 win over Salat Yulaev on Wednesday in Game 1 of the team’s first-round series in the KHL playoffs. Game 2 is Friday. Kravtsov will join the Rangers after the KHL playoffs are over . . . The Rangers signed D Braden Schneider, their second first-round pick in 2020, to an NHL contract that will begin next season. Schneider previously signed an AHL contract and played two games this season for the Rangers’ Hartford farm team. He has since returned to his junior team, Brandon of the WHL, which opens play March 12.