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2021-22 Rangers

Georgiev in net against Preds, Hajek in for Lundkvist

6:30PM: Alex Georgiev will start tonight for the Rangers. (MSG)

Libor Hajek will make his season debut for Nils Lundkvist. Lundkvist is out with a non-COVID illness. (NYR)


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1:30PM: Igor Shesterkin skated and took shots during part of the Rangers morning skate this morning. (Stephenson)

Ryan Strome and Nils Lundkvist didn’t skate with maintenance days. (Stephenson)

Gerard Gallant spoke after the morning skate and said (NYR):

  • On Shesterkin being out there again, “he’s not playing tonight (smile). Worry about Igor next week or whenever he’s ready to play.”
  • On Shesterkin’s progress, “looks fine. He’s moving on, he’s on the ice and everything is going to plan. Trainers will tell me when he’s ready.”
  • What is the status of Strom and Lundkvist, “they’re just doing maintenance, same thing that is going on.”
  • You expect them to play, “yea. Can’t be sure, with today’s world, but we expect them to play.”
  • On Libor Hajek, “he comes in every day ready to play, skates in the morning. We all know what’s going on in the league, what’s happening and I’m not going to go to him every time and say ‘you excited to be ready to play. It’s hard to answer that question, I can’t speak for the kid and we don’t know what is going to happen with the lineup. If it happens tonight we will be happy to talk about it after the game, but I don’t know what to tell you, seriously.”
  • Igor isn’t dressing tonight, “no, he’s definitely not dressing.”
  • On the freedom to make mistakes, “that is how I coach and how most coaches coach in this league, I mean if you’re going to go out there, Hedman in Tampa Bay makes mistakes every game, Cooper loves him, he’s one of the best players in the league, Norris Trophy. Mistakes happen and are part of the game, I’m not going to hold people accountable to mistakes. Now if the same mistakes are over and over and over again and you may miss a shift or a period or game, but you gotta give them an opportunity. Everybody makes mistakes, young players make mistakes and that is going to happen. You can’t worry about mistakes, you gotta give them the pat on the back when they make good plays too and that is all part of coaching and confidence and gaining confidence in the team and that’s the biggest thing. We’ll put them back out there and in the right situations to succeed.”
  • Are certain mistakes worse than others, “if it’s a 1-1 hockey game late in the game when teams put pressure on you and you make mistakes, it’s the same thing. You can look back at different games and say that he coughed the puck up here, well, they had a real good forecheck here. It’s all part of the game and every shift you are seeing mistakes from somebody, but as a coach I look for the good plays. Mistakes happen, but when I’m coaching a game I’m looking for the positive plays that the guys are going and jumping and that is how you deserve more ice time.”
  • On not being the best first period team, “I haven’t noticed that. Have we been a bad first period team or is K’Andre wrong? There have been a couple of games and we’ve had trouble in second periods…”
  • So you don’t think it’s an issue, “I don’t think so. I think it’s been an issue, whether it’s the first, second or third, we’ve had issues in periods, but I don’t think it’s just the first. We can go back and you can prove me wrong, but I don’t notice it just being a first period, it seems that we have a letdown in whatever period, first, second or third and we don’t play as well hockey. To me, when that happens it’s momentum and we talked about it after the game, I thought we had a great first period in Buffalo and the second period was when we started turning pucks over and we changed the momentum ourselves.”
  • How much is hitting coached in the NHL, “I don’t discuss, I really don’t. Those hits, I think they are clean hits, hard hits. People debate, they take those hits out of the game because you don’t want players getting hurt, well, it’s a contact sport, it’s a heavy sport. I don’t know how you take those hits out of the game. I hate to see those guys get hurt, you hate that, but it’s hockey and that is what hockey is. You take the goon stuff out of it, the staged fighting, I agree with all that stuff, but the hitting you gotta be careful…and they’re not going to, I mean as long as they are good clean hits in open ice.”
  • On hitting, “I think that if I see one of our players that is a real dirty hitter, a real dirty player, I’m going to talk to him about it, I’m not going to like it, but I’ve never had to step in and say, ‘we gotta watch what you are doing, Troubs.’ Troubs is an experienced, smart player and he knows that those hits were legit hits and he felt as bad as anybody when the kid got hurt. It was awful and scary for everybody, but fortunately he’s going to be okay.”
  • Do you have any thoughts on the league saying Buffalo’s goal should have counted, “Me personally, myself, I still think it was the right call. I still, I don’t understand the possession part of it and not taking the stick away. In my opinion it’s offside. When you get that picture of the puck over the line, the guy with the puck almost on his stick and the guy is still over the line, to me it’s offside, but, again, they are touchy situations. I know one thing, as a coach you are going to have a real tough time making that call when, you know, if it was less, it was more than a minute we have to challenge and if we challenge that and it goes to 2-2 and we are shorthanded, that is a tough, tough call. Obviously it wasn’t just the coaches that didn’t know, it went to the NHL and they apologized and said they made a mistake, it’s tough, tough calls and we’re going to have t0 take a penalty on that, it’s tough.”
  • On K’Andre Miller, “I like him a lot, he’s been perfect this season, 21-year old kid playing top-four minutes on the blue line. He had a few down spurts, but like I said, kids are going to make mistakes, everybody makes mistakes. I think he’s been outstanding, real happy with him.”
  • On his comfort with K’Andre, “I think Gord is putting him in great situations to succeed, he’s really taken off for us, we’re really happy with his development as a young defenseman playing back there and playing the minutes he plays.”