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Struggling on and off ice, Tony DeAngelo placed on waivers by Rangers

Tony DeAngelo #77 of the Rangers skates during

Tony DeAngelo #77 of the Rangers skates during the third period against the San Jose Sharks at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Rangers placed defenseman Tony DeAngelo on waivers Sunday after Saturday night’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. A report in The Athletic said DeAngelo got into an altercation with goaltender Alexandar Georgiev after the game, though the Rangers did not confirm that.

"There’s always rumors,’’ coach David Quinn said on his post-practice Zoom call with reporters on Sunday. "I’m not going to address rumors. This isn’t about one incident, it’s not about one thing. This is a situation that the organization felt was best at this current time. And we’ll see how the situation plays out.’’

DeAngelo was on ice for four of the Penguins’ five goals on Saturday, including Sidney Crosby’s game-winner in overtime. He was a minus-3 in the game.

DeAngelo, who did not practice with the team Sunday, can be claimed by any of the other 30 NHL teams. If he is not claimed within 24 hours, the Rangers can assign him to their taxi squad or to the minor leagues.

DeAngelo led the Rangers’ defensemen in scoring last season (he was tied for fourth among NHL defensemen), and the Blueshirts’ decision to put him on waivers suggests they are fed up with him. No doubt they have tried — unsuccessfully — to trade him, and putting him on waivers suggests they might be happy if another team would take him off their hands.

Quinn was asked if DeAngelo, 25, has played his final game for the Rangers.

"If someone claims him, then he has played his last game for us,’’ he said. "But we’ll let that process play out.’’

DeAngelo, who recorded his first point of the season Saturday, has had a rough start. It began with his ill-fated move from right defense to left, ostensibly to play with Jacob Trouba. That experiment ended quickly in training camp.

At about the same time, the Rangers spoke to DeAngelo about his social media activity after he deactivated his Twitter account in the days after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and announced that people should reach out to him on Parler, the far-right social media platform.

Things didn’t get better when the season started. DeAngelo took a bad penalty late in the Rangers’ 4-0 loss to the Islanders on opening night and Quinn scratched him for two games as punishment. When he did return to the lineup, he did not play well. He has one assist and is a team-worst minus-6 in six games.

"We’ve got a handful of guys that maybe aren’t playing to the level they played at last year, and you could probably say Tony would be one of them,’’ Quinn said. "But he’s not the only one.’’

The Rangers are 2-4-2 and sit last in the NHL’s East Division, five points out of a playoff spot. They have blown leads in five straight games and have lost four of those, including all three times they’ve played the Penguins. They will face Pittsburgh again on Monday in the second of their two-game series at the Garden.

Trouba and Mika Zibanejad spoke to the media Sunday, and Trouba described the mood at practice as somewhat somber.

"He’s one of our friends, and that’s the business of the game,’’ Trouba said. "So yeah, there’s a little bit of a somber mood. But at the same time, you’ve got to be a professional. And we’ve got a game [Monday] and you’ve got to do your job.’’

"Right now . . . Tony’s our teammate,’’ Zibanejad said. "And you don’t want anyone to go through that, and to be put in that situation . . . We’re human beings. And it’s not an easy thing to, maybe, deal with it. But yeah, we just have to find a way.’’

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