2022 New York Rangers Playoffs

Updates from the Rangers on Monday

Gerard Gallant spoke after practice today and said (NYR):

  • What is the plan around Sidney Crosby, “Sidney is from my neck of the woods in the Maritimes and we all know what kind of player he is, but if we’re going to worry about Sidney then we’re going to have a tough time. Sidney is going to be a great player and do his thing, but they have a good team over there and there is a lot more than Sidney Crosby. We don’t look at one player and identify that, maybe we’ll look at their line and identify that as a really important line. They are a good team and I want us to keep playing the way the New York Rangers play. We got to worry about our team more than the other team. We got to think what we’re going to do more than the other team. When we start worrying about the other team, what they’re going to do to us then you’re standing behind the eight ball and you’re hesitating on the ice. We got to play our game. That is worry about mostly, us playing our game to the top level that we play, with good pace and the way we play our game.”

  • Your message has always been about worrying about yourself, “well, hopefully in five years time I’m saying the same thing (laugh). But it’s true that’s the way I coach. I worry about what our team can do against the other team. I know they got great players, they got star players. Every team has some great players and Sidney Crosby and Malkin and  Letang, they’re a different animal. We all know that, but if you’re going to worry about them, then we’re probably not going to play our game the way I want us to play our game…Be aware when they’re on the ice and manage the puck better when they’re on the ice, stuff like that. But it’s about what we’re going to do.”
  • On matching up against Crosby’s line, “I got trust in my four lines and when their on the ice and fourth line gets scored against some of the TV guys wanna say the matchup was bad, I don’t mind that, I trust my players, I like the way we play. If Ryan Reaves and them are on the ice against that line and they get scored on, so be it. I know the matchups we want, but they aren’t going to work all the time. I want to worry about my team, who is on the ice and let them worry about our line and that is the big thing with me.”
  • On rotating players on the second PP unit, “different guys in different spots and hopefully it goes well. They don’t get a whole lot of time out there, with the guys we got on the first unit, and hopefully it stays that way right through the next two months, that would be perfect, but they understand their role, I like what they do. I like when Trouba pounds the puck from the top and it’s a little bit different from the other unit, so they change it up a bit.”
  • Is there a stylistic difference between rotating Kakko and Chytil on the PP, “No, not at all.”
  • On Lafreniere at the net on the second PP, “He’s been there off an on with different injuries and Covid and he’s been in different positions.”
  • Do you think he has the skillset for that spot, “definitely. We always talk about Chris Kreider and guys like that being around the net, Laffy has some skill, but we’re going to try him there a bit and hopefully get some rebounds and deflection goals and be around the net, he has a good set a hands.”
  • What do you need to see translate from the regular season to the playoffs, “with us? I think when we pressure teams and force teams with our speed and attack against them. Make teams worry about us a little bit. Again, I think every team wants to be a real good forechecking team and to do that. I always talk about the better we are in our D-zone, the quicker we are with breaking up attacks in our D-zone, the better off we are going to be. The first part of the season we spent way too much time in our d-zone and that really hurt us and now I think we are a better team in the offensive zone and we forecheck well. Hopefully we can keep doing that.”
  • Do you feel that the group is ready, “I’m glad today is the last day of practice, to be honest with you. When we were done Friday, the last game, we said that we were glad we weren’t starting until Tuesday and now, after the three days, I wish we would have started tonight. I wish we were going tonight and ready to go. I think the players are the same way, hungry to get at it and get the playoffs going. They are healthy, fresh and ready to go and it should be fun.”
  • On the first playoff experience for the younger players, “go play, they’ve all played in big games before whether it was Junior Hockey or College Hockey, wherever they are going to play. There is no difference, we take it a game at a time and don’t worry about what your are playing for right now, you worry about tomorrow night and that game and go have fun. Nothing changes in the playoffs, you still put your skates on the same way. We talked about it, the intensity in the first round is going to be jacked up 5% and everyone is going to do that and everybody watches playoffs, so they know what to expect.”
  • Any concern with Shesterkin’s workload, “no. He had to play more games, it’s his second year in the league. He hasn’t played ten years in the league. So there is no issue, he’s well rested, go play and have fun, it’s the same thing we are telling our kids, our veterans. It’s one game at a time. It’s playoffs, it should be fun, we had a great regular season that means nothing now, but go play and have fun and do what you did all year. Nothing changes with our message.”
  • Hunt or Reaves with Goodrow and Rooney, “I’m not sure yet.”
  • Does match up or style factor into that, “no. We all know what Reavo brings to our team, but he brings more than what people see on the outside. He’s an important guy, a leader, character guy, makes people pay a price, keeps people off our guys. He does his job well and Hunt has played really well too. We’ll make a decision, they are always tough decisions and that is what the good part of the game is.”
  • Are you not sure or just not saying, “I got a good idea, but things change overnight, you never know what is going to happen overnight.”
  • What does Shesterkin do for the team confidence, “It doesn’t change anything we are going to do. We know we’ve got great goaltending. Igor has been unbelievable all year long, Georgie is 7-1 in his last eight games. We feel good about our goaltending, but we feel good about our team. It’s all about team with us and we play the game the right way we have a chance to win every night. We know we are playing a real good team in Pittsburgh, but go play, have fun. The message doesn’t change and I think our guys are confident, go play well.”
  • Are you excited about the first playoff game at MSG in five years, “Yea, it should be great. I haven’t experienced it, obviously, but I’m looking forward to it, I know our players are, they will be jacked up, no doubt.”
  • How jacked up are you, “Playoffs…seriously. It’s another game, a seven game series against the same team. I’m excited, but we got a job to do and we do the best we can.”
  • Are you nervous as a coach, “No, not at all. I’m not nervous.”
  • Were you more nervous as a player, “It’s been a long time, but once the game gets going you are excited and ready to go, but nothing changes from the regular season game to the playoff game for me. Do your job, get prepared and that is what you do.”