Watch/Read: Chris Kreider On Why He Fought Dion Phanuef

In the third period last night, Chris Kreider engaged in his first NHL fight with Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf.

Phaneuf and Kreider had been battling all game and as Dave Maloney continually mentioned during the broadcast, the two were engaged during the Rangers win over the Leafs prior to the Christmas break.

Kreider told Dave Maloney last night “I don’t know how it transpires but it is what is.”

He said after the game that he was saying some “really dumb stuff” to Phaneuf and should have just kept hi mouth shut. (NY Post)

Kreider added that Phaneuf slashed Derek Stepan and it rubbed him the wrong way, “I probably took it a little too far.” (Newsday)

Kreider

Read: Chris Kreider Has Made Progress

Chris Kreider ranks tied for second in the NHL in points by a rookie with 18 (8 goals and 10 assists) and has gotten his 18 points in six fewer games than the players he is tied with.

Kreider is emerging as a serious threat to win the Calder as Rookie of the Year and is becoming one of the NHL’s most immovable forces from in front. (NY Post).

Dave Maloney said, after Kreider’s hat trick against Vancouver, that Kreider makes a lot of good little plays and that while the headline will be the Hat Trick, the little things Kreider does like creating space, using his size and speed are what make him effective.

Joe Micheletti added, “Kreider has improved in every area. He is hitting, skating, fore-checking, scoring, setting up plays and it’s been impressive.”

Rick Nash, via the Rangers, said “Kreider has all the skills to be an All Star in this league.”

Corey Pronman, who has had questions about Kreider in the past, wrote at ESPN Insider, that Kreider has turned a corner and is finally starting to fulfill his potential.

Pronman spoke with Rangers Director, Player Personnel Gordie Clark who said that Kreider’s progress has been “quite evident” and that the biggest obstacle for Kreider in his career was his need to learn how to play defense and play away with the puck.

Maloney said before the Rangers played the Caps, “Chris’s game has become a full game. He is firm on the puck, get into position and gets the puck to the net. He is doing all the things to create room for himself.”

After scoring to tie the game in the third period against Calgary, Kreider said that he is trying to get to the net on every shift and create opportunities from there.

Derek Stepan told Dave Maloney after the Calgary game that Kreider is a big part of his success and Benoit Pouliot said that Kreider is doing what he needs to do and using his size and speed to score goals.

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Read: Brian Leetch Talks About Chris Kreider

Chris KreiderIn a chat with NHL.com, Brian Leetch told Dan Rosen that he feels Chris Kreider could make a big impact for the Rangers this year, but only if he finds the right role.

Leetch says, “he’s got the size, the speed, all the NHL tools, but you need the production and you need him to fit in there.”

He adds that he thinks the Rangers will spend the rest of the season putting Kreider into different roles and see if they can start the playoffs with him, or if he comes in to replace an injured playoffs during the playoffs.

Leetch says that the key for Kreider will be to work through his issues and regain his confidence, “he’s kind of stuck in-between and a little unsure confidence-wise. They’re kind of stuck now, like, ‘What do we do?’ I think it’s going to be hard for him because he’s lost some confidence after last year.”



In Newsday, Steve Zipay writes that “if the Rangers are to find the recipe for success this year, Chris Kreider must be in the mix”

Zipay also adds that Kreider is saying his ankle is feeling a lot better than it has  in a while and how while he sat out and watched the games from above, Kreider realized that he doesn’t have to rush everything, “I saw that you have some time with the puck. You see where your support is.”