Adam Rotter: This was expected and just because they were sent to Hartford today, doesn’t mean that one or both could be back next week. The fact is, Kreider and Miller need to play a lot and the Rangers are in a position right now where they can’t/don’t want to live with the mistakes that they may make. Having them on the fourth line or benched does nothing for anyone. This team is trying to make the playoffs and in the eyes of John Tortorella, right now the negative is outweighing the positive in their game.
Lasts night, for the first time since 2/21, JT Miller played under 10 minutes in a game. He played a season low 7:08, was a minus two, and last stepped on the ice at 14:04 of the second period.
Chris Kreider, who started the game on the fourth line, played a season low 3:23 and last saw the ice at 7:22 of the second period.
On the post game show, John Tortorella said that he is starting to worry about Kreider and Miller and what kind of role they can play with the Rangers constantly in tight games.
Tortorella said “quite honestly, I am worried about the two kids. I am not upset with them, I just think that the stakes are high and I just have to watch how they go through the game.”
He then said that he wasn’t sure what the next step would be but that he doesn’t want to mess with their development.
On MSG, Dave Maloney and Brian Leetch said that with everything so magnified in the shortened season, the Rangers don’t have the time to allow Kreider and Miller to make mistakes and learn from them, especially at this stage of the season.
The NY Post says that Kreider and Miller are still considered to be untouchable in the organization.
Adam Rotter: I don’t see anything wrong with sending Miller and Kreider down to Hartford and it should be done today if John Tortorella isn’t sure he can trust them enough. The primary objective right now is to make the playoffs and it seems that while Kreider and Miller can help the Rangers do that, Tortorella thinks that the negatives in their game could outweigh the positives. Mats Zuccarello took Kreider’s spot in the top six and if Kreider is going to be on the fourth line, he should be in Hartford and playing big minutes. Same with Miller, who could allow Arron Asham to come back into the lineup and maybe ease some of John Tortorella’s fears.
2:22PM: At Hockey’s Future, they rank Kreider 19th in their top 50 prospects and say “during this season he has shown signs of being one of the best prospects in the league, particularly during his last demotion to the AHL, but he does not look to be as much of a sure thing as he did last summer.”
12:53PM: In his past two games with the Rangers, Chris Kreider has a goal, six shots on goal and has played 13 minutes and nearly 15 minutes.
Kreider scored on a terrific passing play that started with Brad Richards and ended with a give and go between him and Michael Del Zotto.
Joe Micheletti noted on Tuesday night that Kreider was becoming more and more noticeable and that the key may have been that he stopped thinking and just started playing. Joe said, “he looks like a much different player than he did just a few weeks ago.”
On the Michael Kay Show yesterday, John Tortorella said that Kreider has started to learn how to play away from the puck. Tortorella said that he can only play a young if he doesn’t hurt the team defensively. He added, “we play in so many close games and it’s easy for people to say “let him play,” but when the puck is int he back of your net and you are losing 4-2, it just isn’t right.”
Tortorella followed up and said, “I really like what he did yesterday. Not only did he end up with 3 or 4 scoring chances, but he did the job along the wall. He understands positioning away from the puck and I think he is beginning to have a bit of a personality and we are really excited about it.”
2:49PM: When asked about Kreider this morning, Rick Nash told the Daily News that he likes always having the puck on his stick, so playing with someone like Kreider who can go in and get the puck compliments his game perfectly.
9:31AM: Against the Capitals on Sunday, John Tortorella put Chris Kreider up on the LW of Brad Richards and Rick Nash.
Kreider played 14:52 and 5:15 in the third period on the line with Nash and Richards. Kreider had two shots on goal, two hits and two blocked shots.
Tortorella said that he made the move because he thought Kreider was playing well and was executing the game plan that the Rangers had for him. He added that he wants someone on the Richards/Nash line to “chase down pucks” and he thinks that Kreider could be the guy to do that.
Tortorella said on Monday that he thought Kreider was “on the puck” against the Capitals and felt that the Richards and Nash lines needed someone who was “on the puck.”
John Giannone said on Sunday that an encouraging sign from the Rangers was that Chris Kreider had his legs moving and the Rangers will need him to hunt down pucks and create offense.
When asked about how Kreider played in Hartford, Kris Newbury told the Rangers website that his confidence started to grow when the pucks started going in.
In terms of playing away from the puck, John Tortorella said on Monday that Kreider, with the help of the staff in Hartford, has “come a long way” in how he plays that
Tortorella added that Kreider respects the process he is going through and understands the challenge and work it will take to be comfortable and learn all the dynamics of being a pro hockey player, “This is the right type of process that he needs to go through, and I hope he takes a step in the right direction and keeps on growing from there.”
The Rangers coach described Kreider as having “major assets” but “it’s just a matter of trying to get him to put it all together and do it consistently along the way here.”
While with the Whale he played in all situations and felt that playing 20 minutes a night kept him engaged and that his entire mindset was trying to do everything he needed to work on consistently.
He called his time in Hartford a “real positive experience” and one where he was able to feel out and work through where he was comfortable and where he wasn’t.
Kreider told the Daily News that he believes the organization has his best interest in mind and wants to help him reach his potential. He said that he doesn’t feel any added pressure and doesn’t feel as if there is more pressure on him now, with the Rangers, than there was when he was with the Whale.
Kreider also said, via the team’s website, that he would rather be a player they focus on then a player they don’t worry about.
John Tortorella said on Tuesday, via the Daily News, that the team was getting good reports on Kreider, but while he is scoring goals, there are still things that the Whale coaching staff want to work with him on.
He said that the team has discussed bringing Kreider back, but they don’t want to keep “knee-jerking him back and forth” and that when they bring him back up, “he’s ready to play.”
Tortorella added, “We’re dying to get a guy that’s 6-3, 6-4 that can skate like hell into our lineup, but we’re not going to do it at the expense of him and hurting him as far as we try to develop him.”
Since being sent down to the Whale at the end of February, Chris Kreider has six goals in eight games.
The 25 shots that he has in eight games are the most he has had in a month, and that includes 14 games in December where he only had 21 shots and 11 games in November where he had 24 shots.
Of his six goals in the last eight games:
three have come on the power play
one came on a breakaway
FIVE came from going to the net or being around the net
Kreider had FIVE goals in his first 34 games.
In the NY Post, Larry Brooks writes that the Rangers should only call up Kreider, who need his speed and skill, if John Tortorella “allows the kid to breathe and play without fear of benching or banishment with every mistake.”
He adds “a recall only makes sense if Kreider slots into an offensive role that includes power play time.”
Brooks says that everyone on the team has been allowed to fail except for Kreider and that Kreider is having a difficult time earning the trust of Tortorella.
Adam Rotter: It’s really encouraging that he has scored more goals in the last eight games than he did in his first 34 games. He has found his scoring touch down there but without actually watching him play, it’s hard to know how his overall game has progressed. The Whale have 19 games left and are pushing for the playoffs as well. If it was up to me, I think I would let him stay in Hartford, play big minutes, score/work on his game, and finish strong with an idea of making an impact at training camp next season.