2021-22 Rangers

What Gerard Gallant said on Tuesday

At Rangers practice today the lines were (Walker):

  • Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, Dryden Hunt
  • Artemi Panarin, Ryan Strome, Kaapo Kakko
  • Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil, Julien Gauthier
  • Kevin Rooney, Barclay Goodrow, Ryan Reaves
    • Ryan Lindgren, Adam Fox
    • K’Andre Miller, Jacob Trouba
    • Patrik Nemeth, Nils Lundkvist
    • Libor Hajek, Jarred Tinordi

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


  • On the Islanders, “I’m looking forward to it, should be fun. Two pretty good hockey teams, they are going through a tough spot right now with all their players in Covid, but they are a good team, they proved that the past two years going deep in the playoffs. Should be a good battle.”
  • Is there anything that could postpone the game, “Not that I know of, not that I heard nothing. You probably know more about that than I do. We are getting ready to play tomorrow and I haven’t heard nothing.”
  • Does the approach change with them banged up, “No, definitely not. We have to prepare our team the right way and play how we play it. It’s an 82-game scheduled and you have to prepare a little bit for certain teams, but for the most part you have to make sure your team is ready to play your game.”
  • On Dryden Hunt’s game, “we’ve liked him from day one, from the first day of training camp. I didn’t know the kid real well, I had him when he was a young player in Florida just coming out of junior, but I didn’t know much about him, but he’s played well, worked hard, played a complete game for us. It’s an opportunity, but I’ve liked what he’s done all year, consistency each game.”
  • Does Hunt being promoted provide an example for others, “it’s all opportunity and that is what guys have to believe. Gauthier didn’t play a lot of games, now he’s played real good for us lately. When you get an opportunity take an advantage of it and when people get hurt, make sure you step in and play your game the way you are capable of playing. That is what I like about our group so far, guys don’t worry about who they are playing with, we can flip them around a little bit. Goodrow is a perfect example, we’ve been real happy since the first day of training camp and he plays fourth line, third line, second line, first line, he does everything for us. He’s been a good teammate and it’s all about winning games.”
  • On Hunt not wanting to change his game on the top line, “he better not. We like what he’s done, shoot the puck a little more, but I’ve liked what he’s done from Day 1, play the same way and that is why he got an opportunity to play up there.”
  • Could playing with Zibanejad unlock his offensive upside, “I think it changes his mindset a little bit, there is no doubt. He’s playing with top players and he hasn’t had a lot of chance to do that. In junior he scored a lot of goals, he was a big time goal scorer, we will see where it goes, one game at a time, but I don’t want him to change his game, play hard, work hard and shoot the puck a little bit.”
  • Is it important to have a player on that line who does the hard work for the other two, “No, I don’t look at it like that. We want all of our players working hard, whether it’s Laffy up there or whoever is up there with those opportunities. Play your game, play a complete game and I want all of our guys playing the same way, work hard, compete hard defensively and when you get opportunities offensively take advantage of them. I don’t want him changing his game, go up and play your game.”
  • Will Goodrow stay at center, “I wouldn’t say he’s going to stay there, he might start there tomorrow. It wasn’t about that. I didn’t like our lines going at first, so it wasn’t more like Goodrow for Hunt, it wasn’t about that, it was part of the whole picture. I just didn’t like how our lines were playing, so we made the switch and I thought they played better. Will we start like that tomorrow, probably, but you never know, we will see what tomorrow brings.”
  • On winning one-goal games, “I don’t want us changing how we play because we are up one goal or tied late in a hockey game, we gotta play the same way. There is nothing worse than getting a goal or two goal lead and sitting back and defending the whole third period, we don’t want to play like that. We want to play an up-tempo game and play our game for 60 minutes and I think the teams that do that have more success.”
  • On sitting Lundkvist last game, “Sometimes it’s different matchups, but it’s all different reasons. Tinordi is a big part of our group, he’s a big man, he’s a strong man, physical player, they are different set ups. Lundkvist has played fine, done a good job for us, but he’s still a kid too. Does it hurt his development, no it doesn’t. Does it help his development, sometimes it does. He doesn’t have to play 82-games here to make sure…he’s playing really well he’s going to play every game, if he’s playing okay, well, maybe we’ll switch guys in and out. We like the kid, he’s doing a good job.”
  • Is there any one point of emphasis with Lundkvist, “just continue to build confidence, he’s playing a solid gam,e moving the puck, but again, he’s a skilled guy that’s got some talent. It depends who we’re playing certain night, we’ll look at it and see. He’s a kid that we don’t want to wear out either, he’s not a 215 kid fully grown, he’s still a small kid and we want him moving his feet and moving the puck and Gord Murphy works with him every day in video or drills at the end of practice. He’s getting better…”
  • Is his confidence in a good place, “I think so. I hope so.”
  • Was there anything specific that caused a better third period, “When we did change the lines, the Reaves, Goodrow and Rooney line went out and had a real good forechecking shift, I think that was late in the second period, I think, and I think the guys felt really good about it and came out and played hard in the third. From the first shift of the third period I felt we took over the game a little bit and had great chances…maybe it was that one shift, I’m not sure, but I felt good about that shift as a coach, you see them in there bumping bodies and cycling the puck real well, played the game the right way and I thought after that we played real good.”