- On the season, “It’s a nice feeling to know you are in the playoffs and it’s truly the best time of the year when you can start competing for the cup. I don’t know if there was a turning point but it took a while for everything to come together. We had some travel issues and a new staff and some new players but we managed to work through it and we have been pretty solid for the remainder of the year except for a little slide here and there. It’s been a solid effort from a lot of players to get us to where we are.”
- What is the identity, “I think it’s a group effort and tremendous goaltending from the back . It’s a group effort and we have three lines that can score on a regular basis. Our fourth line can help out there too but they have been valuable as of late. It’s a group effort and we have six D that are all valuable and those have been keys.”
- On the next three, “Some questions, as of rest, may come up in the last game or so but we want to feel good about ourselves, we want to control our destiny and get home ice if we can and keep pushing but maybe give some rest in that last game.”
- On Ryan McDonagh, “He skated today and he is very anxious to get back but we need to be patient. The value of him is so tremendous so we need to make sure he is 100% before we put him back in.”
- On replacing Ryan McDonagh, “he has been a horse for us and carried a big load. It may be hard to replace him but it’s a good opportunity for John Moore who will get some ice time with Dan Girardi. We will find who is hungry for those 25 minutes that McDonagh carries so we will play it by ear.”
- On Moore and G, “it won’t necessarily be a three group rotation, maybe it’s Staal and G in d-zone draws and save John Moore for neutral and offensive zone draws. A lot of juggling with missing Ryan McDonagh.
- On the PK, “I think AV has done a good job of putting those guys in there at the right times, not necessarily for draws, but to throw high skill players out on the fly so they can do their thing without getting stuck in our zone the whole time. It’s not just offense but defense as well for those guys.”
- On shorthanded goals, “it’s frustrating for a PP if they have guys like Nash and MSL out there, they are a little tentative and not making those hard plays and maybe looking one more instead of instinctively passing the puck around. It’s hard to play a PP against skilled guys like that.”
- Good luck with the revamped D, “we will make it work.”
- On last nigh and Alain Vigneault telling them not to be afraid, “I think sometimes it works to a teams favor if you have a new coaching staff and they haven’t gone through the hard times that the team has gone through there.”
- On last night, “for me, I thought it was a real exciting game. 1-0 games can be real sleepers but I felt that both goalies played tremendously well and it was a great hockey game.”
- On the team play last night, “the commitment to working 200 ft was one of our keys and our forwards were helping the D and it was a team effort.”
- On Justin Falk: I think he provided some stability and played hard and was a hard player to play against. I think he was pretty good with the puck as well considering he has been out for a while.”
- On the Kings, “The Kings are a great team and we will need another really good effort. They are a big team and good down low in their cycles and we need to use our speed.”
In a chat with the Rangers website, Ulf Samuelsson said that the plan tonight for the Rangers is jump on Carolina much like they jumped on Buffalo on Thursday.
“They played last night and they traveled and the mentality for them is to get through the first period and we want to come out full speed and attack as hard as possible.”
Other comments from Samuelsson:
In the NY Post, Larry Brooks writes that assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson has been conducting one-on-one conversations with his defensemen during practices, on and off the ice, as well as one the bench during play.
Michael Del Zotto told Brooks that Samuelsson is very positive, very supportive and does a great job at helping build up a players confidence.
He adds that Samuelsson, because of his career as a defenseman, understands that mistakes will happen and that when they do he is supportive and sends them back onto the ice so that they can learn and be better.
For more on Samuelsson, CLICK HERE.
While coaching in Sweden the past two seasons for MODO, Ulf Samuelsson has gotten to see Rangers prospects Jesper Fast and Oscar Lindberg as they competed in the Swedish Elite League.
Samuelsson told the Rangers website that he thinks some time in the AHL, to get used to the smaller ice surface, will benefit Fast and Lindberg but he wouldn’t be surprised to see them challenging for roster spots in the near future.
For more on Fast, CLICK HERE.
For more on Lindberg, CLICK HERE.
In a chat with the Rangers website Anton Stralman noted that when Ulf Samuelsson was the head coach in MODO the past two years his team played a very offensive game and their defensemen were always joining the rush.
During the conversation it was noted that bringing some more offense to the defensemen and pushing them to join the rush is a priority of Samuelsson as he joins the Rangers coaching staff.
Stralman said that Samuelsson is with the Rangers “for a reason” and that he looks forward to hearing Samuelsson’s ideas and learning from him.
He added that he knows Samuelsson a little bit and that he watched him when he was growing up in Sweden. In Sweden Samuelsson is a “hockey idol.”
For more on Samuelsson, CLICK HERE.
Keith Yandle told USA Today that Samuelsson is the kind of coach that can have and joke around with but, “he’s also one of the most intense guys I’ve ever met.”
Samuelsson told the Rangers website back in July, “I knew I wanted to get back to the NHL and this opportunity came about and I am glad I am back with the Rangers.”
He added that the two years he spent coaching in the SEL were good for his education and that during his time in Phoenix, with Wayne Gretzky and Dave Tippett, he was able to work in all areas of coaching.
In terms of a defensive philosophy, Samuelsson said that no one should screen the goalie and no one should get to any rebounds.
Samuelsson told the Rangers website that he feels he has a pretty good understanding of the Rangers defense after watching nearly every single shift the Rangers defensemen took last season.
He added that he has had conversations with his former teammate and current Whale assistant Jeff Beukeboom about the Rangers defensive prospects.
When asked about his defensemen, Samuelsson said “I think we have a tremendous blueline.”
For more on Samuelsson, CLICK HERE.
In the Rangers press release announcing the hiring of Ulf Samuelsson as assistant coach, part of Samuelsson’s biography includes “The former NHL defenseman was instrumental in developing the team’s core defensemen, including Keith Yandle, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and Zbynek Michalek.”
Samuelsson was an associate coach in Phoenix from 2006 to 2011 and saw Yandle start his NHL career and develop into an All-Star who had at least 30 points, 3 times over 40, since 2008-09.
Craig Morgan, at Fox Sports Arizona, writes Samuelsson showed a lot of confidence in Yandle and “oozes pride” when discussing Yandle’s development.
Yandle praised the Phoenix coaching staff for his development, but singled out Samuelsson and the time they have spent together.
Yandle told AZ Central that Samuelsson preached that strong play in the defensive zone will lead to more offensive chances, “if you’re not playing in your own zone, then you’re in the offensive zone….that’s when you get to have fun and score some goals.”
In a chat with the Rangers website, assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson said that he didn’t realize how much of the backbone Henrik Lundqvist has been for the Rangers over the past few seasons.
Samuelsson said that he has spoken with Lundqvist during the offseason and Lundqvist told him that he is anxious to push himself to the next level and take the Rangers on a deep playoff run to the Stanley Cup.
Samuelsson said of Lundqvist, “that’s such an incredible advantage to have someone as the backbone of your team with that talent and that kind of mindset.”