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Rangers coach David Quinn says Mika Zibanejad 'inching closer' to a return

Mika Zibanejad of the Rangers celebrates his first-period

Mika Zibanejad of the Rangers celebrates his first-period goal against the Devils at Madison Square Garden on March 7, 2020. Credit: Jim McIsaac

After missing the first four days of training camp practices, forward Mika Zibanejad and goaltender Keith Kinkaid skated before Saturday’s practice, and coach David Quinn said Zibanejad, the team’s first-line center, is "inching closer’’ to a return.

However, rookie defenseman K’Andre Miller, who has stood out in camp, did not practice, which the team said was "procedural.’’

Rookie forward Justin Richards missed practice for the fifth straight time.

"Mika’s had a couple good days,’’ Quinn said. "He’s inching closer to returning. We’re hoping for K’Andre to be back [Sunday]. It certainly looks like we will get him back, so that’s a good sign on both fronts.’’

Brett Howden, who had a goal and an assist playing in Zibanejad’s spot between wingers Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich in Thursday night’s scrimmage, skated there again Saturday.

Buch impresses Quinn

Quinn said the most impressive player in camp has been Buchnevich.

"This is the best camp he’s had since I’ve been here,’’ Quinn said of the 25-year-old Russian. "I loved the way he played the scrimmage the other night. I just love the way things are going for him.

"He and I’ve had long conversations about what his abilities are and we certainly know what he’s capable of doing.’’

Blue notes

Second-year defensemen Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren, on-ice partners most of last season, not only are together again on the ice but will be sharing an apartment this season. "Last year we lived two blocks from each other and saw each other a lot,’’ Fox said. "This year we’re rooming together, and it’s been fun so far. We go back, obviously, to when we were 16 [playing together on the U.S. National Team Development Program], and we have a lot of fun. Right now, we’ve got a little putting green in the apartment, so we have a little putt-offs and Xbox competition.’’ . . . The Rangers changed their schedule and will have a scrimmage at 7 p.m. Sunday.

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