2021-22 Rangers

Updates from the Rangers on Wednesday

6:14PM: Gerard Gallant spoke after practice and said some of the following (NYR):

  • On putting Panarin and Zibanejad together, “Today they looked good out there moving around. They played well the other night, so we’ll see tomorrow but it’s a possibility for sure. “
  • On keeping them together vs splitting them up, “Well I think if you look at the people that are out, it makes a big difference in your lineup so and again I tried it the other night because we didn’t have much going along the second period and you know that’s what coaches do, I mean you gotta, you got to try and change something up and I thought it went better in the third. And they’re talented players, Bread played Mika, played with Stromer, when we get a full on lineup I like our lineup.”

  • Is it exciting to see what they could do together, “they’re both skilled, highly talented hockey players and top players for us ,so to put them together and that, yeah I got no issues with that. We try and worry about our team, more than a couple of individual players. They make us better I want them on the same line. It’s not about one line on their hockey team, you got to have four lines going and like I said, sometimes you’ll put them together and sometimes when you know some people come back, you mix you lines up again but it went well the other night, it went okay the other night.”
  • What do you need to do to generate more puck possession and scoring chances, “Well, we talked about a lot when we’re playing well, it’s it’s not about the fancy plays in the offensive zone, it’s more about the grit down low, getting pucks from down low, low to high and get people going to the net a little bit more and I just thought the other night in Toronto, the second period was real tough because we were standing still, we’re watching Toronto play and we didn’t do much. You know some of the other games were much better, you know we’re getting scoring chances I mean, when we watched the tape back and we see the scoring  chances for and against the other night it was a little bit one sided, for sure, but the other games, we’ve out-chanced our opponents, and you know we’re getting opportunities and Grade A opportunity so, but it was, it was definitely, the other night, was definitely a big difference for sure.”
  • How do you decide which side to put Lafreniere and Blais on, “Laffy  likes to play left wing, you know, he moves to the right side the odd time, he’s not, you know it’s not his best position, but that’s part of the hockey. I mean, you know players come up and the younger players, that’s why we wanted to put Laffy on the left side more than anything, we know he’s more comfortable there. Other guys come in the lineup most guys like, you know, Kreider’s a left winger, he’s playing right wing, he’s happy over there right now he’s playing well, getting his opportunities. So, most players it doesn’t affect them in today’s game. Back in my era, I was a left winger and that’s where I stayed. I didn’t feel comfortable at all over there so the most guys that’s the way it is today.”
  • What do you like about Blais with them, “I’m gonna see you tomorrow night. Yeah, no I mean Blazers a big guy, getting the chance to go up there and play some more minutes over on that side and like he said, I can play the right side, it doesn’t matter what side I play and he’s a big strong guy, so hopefully they play well together and like I said as a coach when you got injuries like we’ve got right now, to a couple of top players, you throw different line combinations around. That’s what we come up with.”
  • On the PP struggles, “Last game, no, it didn’t look good at all, but the game before that I was really happy with it, especially with Panarin coming down that off-flank and making the plays with Zibanejad. We’ve had some great chances on that and they didn’t go in the net, but last game was a tough game on the powerplay but the game before that, we were happy with it.”
  • You are okay with the PP structure, “we didn’t have much structure the last game, like the last game, really, Toronto did a good job, and they got us out of our structure we didn’t have a whole lot of setup time in the o-zone, but before that I thought it was really good in Montreal. The game at home, you know, it was really good.”
  • Is there consideration about putting Hajek in, “We just go day to day and right now we’re happy with the six guys that are going and playing well and, and we’ll see where it goes, but right now we’re just, we’re happy with those six guys.”
  • Do you ask Mika and Panarin if they want to play together, “No, I’m not going to ask the players who they want to play with. That’s going to make a long time for me, because a lot of players will say oh I like to play with Mika. I think 11 forwards would say ‘I like to play with Mika.’ I’ll have a tough job if I start that.”
  • On Strome’s status, “just the same, Covid protocol. That is all we can say.”
  • On Shesterkin, “me and Benny talk often on it and  obviously he’s not going to play 80 hockey game for us that’s not going to happen, it shouldn’t happen, it’s not going to happen the other guy is a real good goaltender too. But the way this guy’s played the last two games, obviously got points for us and we’ll see where we’re going to go tomorrow. We’re very confident in him, but Georgie is also a very good goaltender too and we’re going to show some confidence in him too and then you got two goalies that can play. We’re not worried about our goaltending. We got more problems to worry about then our goaltending.”
  • On Kakko’s status and does he need to practice before he plays, “I don’t, but the trainer’s might yell at me for that but no I mean when he’s ready to go, he’s ready to go and I think it’s going to be close. Honestly, I mean I think it’s day to day, and I think he’s getting real close so we’ll see where it goes, but that’s what we’re sort of looking at hopefully, you know, early next week.”
  • Is he able to skate, “I don’t think he skated, I don’t want to say for sure, but I don’t think he skated.”
  • Is Kakko with you on the trip, “Yes. That’s a good sign.”

3:09PM: At Rangers practice in Nashville the lines being used were (Stephenson):


  • Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider
  • Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil, Sammy Blais
  • Barclay Goodrow, Kevin Rooney, Dryden Hunt
  • Ryan Reaves, Greg McKegg/Morgan Barron, Julien Gauthier

Libor Hajek skated with Patrik Nemeth. (Brooks)

Kaapo Kakko (upper body, IR) and Ryan Strome (Covid protocol) did not practice. (NYR)

Kakko hasn’t skated yet but could return early next week. (Stephenson)

Strome will miss his third straight game when the Rangers play Nashville tomorrow.