Read: Hoping Mats Zuccarello can build off of Monday

Mats ZuccarelloPrior to Monday’s game against Minnesota, Mats Zuccarello said that he had been through tough stretches before and that he just needs to play hard and hopefully one will go in.

On Monday night, Zuccarello had his first:

  • Goal of the season
  • 2 assist game
  • Multi-Point game
  • 4 shot game
  • Game with a greater than plus one rating (plus three)

Zuccarello’s points came after Rick Nash was added to his line with Derick Brassard and Dave Maloney said before the game that Zuccarello was just in need of some chemistry on the ice.

After the game, Zuccarello said on MSG that it’s nice to contribute but he can still be better. He hopes that it’s a step in the right direction.

Alain Vigneault said after the game “Mats is a real intense competitor and when he is going through one of these phases you need to reassure him more than anything else. He puts a lot of pressure on himself but tonight he was good. On their third goal it was his man and he got beat and you could see that he was getting down but hopefully a period like this can get him going.”

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Read: How the Rangers plan to start their time without John Moore

RangersPrior to the announcement that John Moore would be suspended five games, Alain Vigneault said that he was likely going to put Michael Kostka into the Rangers lineup on Saturday.

He said that he is comfortable with the group of defensemen on the roster and there is not yet a plan to call up another defenseman.

Adam Rotter: I think Alain Vigneault wants to give Michael Kostka another shot and to see if he has improved since his dreadful game against the Islanders.  With the Rangers shallow defensive depth you have to see if Kostka is capable of playing on the third pair and/or being the 7th/8th defenseman. If he can’t play either of those roles then the Rangers will keep him in Hartford the rest of the year and have to look elsewhere for more depth.

Read: Anthony Duclair’s junior coach on Duclair’s status

DuclairPhillppe Boucher, head coach of the Quebec Remparts, says that the Rangers will manage the status of Anthony Duclair this season as “they see fit.” (La Presse)

Boucher says that he has not gotten a call telling him that Duclair will not return to Quebec this season. (La Presse)

Alain Vigneault said recently that based on his experience coaching in the QMJHL as well as the NHL, he thinks that the best place for Duclair right now is in the NHL.

For a lot more on Duclair, CLICK HERE.

NEWS: John Moore suspended FIVE Games (Updated)

John Moore5:02PM: John Moore has been suspended 5 games by the NHL Department of Player Safety for his hit on Erik Haula on Monday. (Bob McKenzie)

Moore can return on 11/11 against Pittsburgh. Because Moore had an in-person hearing the NHL had the option to suspend Moore for 6 or more games. Had Moore been suspended for 6 or Moore games, the CBA states (18.13) that he could have appealed to an independent arbitrator.

In describing the suspension, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety video said, “Monday night in New York Rangers defenseman John Moore was assessed a match penalty for a hit to the head that injured Minnesota Wild Erik Haula. Off a turnover in the neutral zone, Haula is supporting a rush from Nino Niederritor as Moore races to get back into the play. After taking a drop pass, left shooting Haula snaps a shot at the net as Moore closes in from his right.”

They add, “Just after Haula releases the puck, Moore drives into him forcefully with his left shoulder. While initial contact is made with Haula’s shoulder, the main point of contact on this hit is Haula’s head. This is an illegal check to the head. It is important to note that Haula is eligible to be checked on the play and Moore’s hit is not late. Nor did Moore deliver the hit with his elbow which flairs up during contact, however, if Moore is to attempt this extremely difficult hit, his timing and angle of approach must ensure that he hits squarely through the body and that Haula’s head is not the main point of contact. Moore does neither. Haula’s head absorbs the brunt of Moore’s shoulder and how Haula spins to the ice is a clear indication that this hit was not square through the body.”

“To summarize, this was an illegal check to the head. Haula was injured as a result of the hit. Moore was recently suspended for a similar infraction during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs and is considered a repeat offender under the CBA.”

Moore was suspended two games, and considered to be a repeat offender, last year for a hit on Dale Weise.

He will forfeit $51,859.75 in salary. That money will go to the Players Emergency Assistance Fund.

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Recap: Alain Vigneault’s comments today (On Rick Nash, the defense, PP)

Alain VigneaultAlain Vigneault met with the media today following the Rangers practice (NYR):

  • On Rick Nash, “I don’t think his game has changed much other than the fact that the pucks are going in. He played some real good hockey for us down the stretch. He was in our, after every game we analyze chances for and against and he was always at the top in terms of chances. He just wasn’t finishing for whatever reason. Sometimes goal scorers get hot and there is no doubt that he is pretty hot right now.”
  • On putting him in front more, “no, he was there before, he was getting the looks and now they are going in so, it’s goal scoring.”

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Note: Derek Stepan should be practicing with the team in a few days

Derek Stepan2:29PM: Alain Vigneault said today (NYR):

  • Do you expect Stepan to practice, “yes. Soon, this week…..we will let you know, I would say that in the next 4-7 days he should be back on the ice.”
  • Do you expect to activate him when you can, “I would say that it will take a couple of practices to see how he feels. I know he has been skating real hard the last 3-4 days and he has been working in the gym.”
  • No setbacks, “no.”

12:39PM: Alain Vigneault said today that Derek Stepan should be practicing with the Rangers in the next “4-7 days.” (NYR)

If there are no setbacks with Stepan he could be off of LTIR next week. (Zipay)

Stepan is eligible to come off LTIR for Monday’s game against St. Louis.

Stepan started skating on his own a few days ago.