2020-21 Rangers

Vitali Kravtsov will play tonight

5:49PM: David Quinn spoke before the game and said (NYR):

  • Why Kravtsov tonight, “he’s been practicing well, he’s got enough time with us here and I just thought it was a good time to get him in.”
  • What line with Kravtsov be on, “Chytil and Lafreniere, he’ll play the right wing.”
  • What will the fourth line be, “Blackwell will be on the left, Rooney in the middle and Gauthier on the right.”
  • On Gauthier on the fourth line, “Things we’ve been talking about with him and every player, their defensive responsibilities, recognizing the situation coming back into our end, not trying to do too much defensively, not puck watching, sometimes we get into trouble as a group, not just Julien, we get into trouble as a group when we puck watch and, to me, lately that has been one of our problems defensively, we’ve given up a little too much in the middle of the rink lately, where we’ve been pretty sound throughout the season, but it seems like in the last week to ten days we have gotten away from that and it’s something we as a group have to get back to doing what we were doing for the first 6-7 weeks of the season where we were very sound defensively, not giving up a lot of slot chances and playing sound defensively. Not only Julien, but everybody that we have has to get back to simplifying things defensively and protecting the middle of the rink.”
  • Can the wingers play either side, “Every guy has a little bit of different comfort level playing the offside, the Russians, in particular feel comfortable playing their offsides. Every player is different, it’s kind of like defensemen that can play on their offside, some guys are more comfortable than others playing on their offisde and it’s the same thing with forwards.”
  • Is there a message that you give to players when they make their debut, “To me it’s a little bit different today because there are not 18,000 people in the building, so it is a little bit different of an experience. To me, they’ve played hockey their whole lives, the game doesn’t change much, it is an NHL game and he’s been preparing for this his whole life. The number one thing you want them to do is enjoy it, there will be nerves that will go away quickly once you get a couple of shifts under your belt, but don’t try to do too much. For a young player when they get into a lineup, just play your game, don’t try to do too much, do the things that got you here and enjoy the moment.”

5:08PM: Vitali Kravtsov will make his NHL debut for the Rangers tonight in Buffalo. (NYR)

Phil Di Giuseppe will be scratched. (Walker)


Adam Rotter: This isn’t surprising, especially after Di Giuseppe took that slashing penalty at the end of the first period on Thursday. Kravtsov steps into the lineup and will likely face the same issue Alexis Lafreniere has with ice time and players above them on the depth chart. Lafreniere is behind Kreider and Panarin on the left side and Kravtsov will likely be behind Buchnevich and Kakko on the right side. That is just the what the situation is with the Rangers right, they have too many players and not enough minutes to go around. He will likely play with Lafreniere and Filip Chytil in the Rangers third incarnation of the “kid” line in a few weeks. I don’t think this means Kravtsov is in the lineup for good, but he will get an opportunity tonight to give another glimpse of what the future could be.