Rangers change up lines at Wednesday’s practice

7PM: David Quinn said on Wednesday (NYR):

  • On delivering a message when the team is fragile, “when you are struggling the way we are, and not just losing, but in the fashion the way we are, it can really wear on your psyche. That being said, you are pro athletes and it’s’ your responsibility to play hard every night and that is something we haven’t been doing. That message was delivered today, not just from the coaches but from our leadership group and see how we go and how quickly we adjust our effort.”
  • On the young players, “I think some of them are lacking confidence but as I’ve said repeatedly, confidence comes from hard work and doing something right. I always equate it to my golf game, if I go spend two hours a day in my sand game for a week and then I play a round of golf and I pull it into the bunker, I’m gonna walk into that bunker feeling pretty good about my chances hitting a good sand shot. We’ve just got to continue to work harder and do things better and if you have one good shift it could lead to a few more and all the sudden you have a good game. That is the mentality for everyone in the lineup no matter how old you are.”
  • Did you see good signs in practice, “yes, absolutely.”
  • On Kakko, “he puts a lot of pressure on himself and he wants to be great right now. If we all just put ourselves in his shoes, 18-year old kid playing for the NYR, put in a role where he is asked to do an awful lot. Rarely does an 18-year old come in storming the league. I think his challenges are no different than most 18-year olds that come into the NHL. The good news for all of us is that his upside is higher than most 18-year olds that come into this league. It may happen this week, next month but it’s going to happen where he is going to find consistency in his game and be very successful.”
  • Do you do anything as a coach to help him, “we’ve had plenty of conversations, I haven’t had a chance to talk to him today, it was a quick turnaround day and we had more team meeting stuff but we did before the game. He’s talking to one coach every day whether it’s him coming to us or us going to him. I think there is a trust factor from his end of it with the coaching staff and he understands how good we want him to be and how good we think he can be.”
  • On Kreider, “he’s going to break out, I’d be a lot more worried about Chris Kreider if he wasn’t getting the chances he’s been getting. As he said to me, I should have five goals by now, that will happen.”
  • On splitting Panarin and Mika to spread out offense, “with our situation we are still trying to find combinations and that is part of the factor in splitting them up.”
  • Will it be good for Kakko to play with Mika, “I think so. When Mika Zibanejad is your center you are automatically getting confidence, it beats playing with me. He’s probably in a much better position mentally when he sees that Zibanejad is his center and Kreider is his LW.”
  • Does putting him on the top line get him more minutes, “I don’t think ice time has been a big problem for him, I know he didn’t play a lot last night but I don’t think there is anything wrong with an 18-year old not playing 15-14-13 minutes a night every now and then, their minutes will dip but playing with Mika will certainly give him a chance to get more ice time.”
  • On Hajek playing with Trouba, “Libor skates well, plays with a passion, is in your face. When he’s playing with confidence he makes good plays, good down below the goal line getting us out of our own end, whether it be making a good decision or skating out of his own end. I just think that playing with someone like Jacob will give him an opportunity to develop a bit quicker.”
  • On Hajek’s confidence level, “I sense that his confidence is growing as is his game, they go hand in hand. He’s very hard on himself as well and he wants to do so well, he makes mistakes and he says sorry, which you don’t want to hear, just move past it and learn from it and have your next best shift and he is learning that.”
  • What are you learning about Hajek, “I knew what type of player we had in him, because of his age there are going to be peaks and valleys, the key is to make sure that the valleys aren’t that low…you want to be okay when things aren’t great and I think he is finding that.”
  • “Like I said last night, we haven’t been in a great position mentally, I thought we made a step in the right direction today, feeling good about ourselves and gaining some confidence and putting forth a 60 minute effort, something we haven’t had.”
  • On Lias Andersson, “Lias has to play faster from play to play, he tends to kind of stand up after he does something, not a lot of continuation in his play. He knows that and we’ve talked about it and those are the kind of things he will have to do if he’s going to get more minutes and responsibility.”
  • Henrik in net tomorrow, “yes.”
  • Would you ride one goalie if they get hot, “if one gets hot I’ll go with one but I like both of their games right now. Hank did play 2 in a row that one time, we will see. Now that we are in a rhythm one guy might play a couple more than we have been because we are getting into a rhythm.”

12:36PM: At Rangers practice on Wednesday, the lines being used are (Cyrgalis):

  • Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, Kaapo Kakko
  • Artemi Panarin, Ryan Strome, Pavel Buchnevich
  • Brendan Lemieux, Brett Howden, Jesper Fast
  • Greg McKegg, Lias Andersson, Brendan Smith

Marc Staal is paired with Adam Fox, Libor Hajek is paired with Jacob Trouba and Brady Skjei is paired with Tony DeAngelo. (Cyrgalis)





Adam Rotter: These are interesting combinations and another indication, at least as of now, that the Rangers aren’t intending to make any call ups from Hartford.

Kreider and Zibanejad have a lot of history and success together and Kreider going to his natural left side bumps Artemi Panarin but pushes Kaapo Kakko into the top RW spot. We haven’t seen much of Zibanejad and Kakko but that would seem to be the direction the Rangers are going in for tomorrow.

Ryan Strome, rightfully, is bumped back into being the second line center and it will be interesting to see how he works with both Panarin and Buchnevich. Strome and Buchnevich have been together a bit in the last couple of games but we haven’t seen Strome and Panarin at all. If these lines don’t click then the logical next step would be to flip Buchnevich and Kakko, reuniting Kreider, Zibanejad and Buchnevich as a trio and then putting Kakko and Panarin together.

Brett Howden moves back into more of a third-line role and with a checking line and the fourth line remains a version of what it’s been.