- Congrats on going back to NY 2-0, “it’s very exciting to be up 2-0 but we know we are a little lucky to get the W with how Montreal came out last night in the first period.”
- On coaching experience, “I think AV does a terrific job staying focused and calm and weathering the storm. We push from the bench but it’s more about getting back to our game and taking some punches and keep going. Playoffs can be such an emotional roller coaster ride that you need to find a nice level to stay at.”
Ulf Samuelsson met with John Giannone on MSG:
- “late and early this morning, you look at all details to maneuver and change our position. Excited that the game is here.”
- What did you see, “there are some small tactical areas but more importantly our puck possession and how we gave it away and if you feed a transition team like that they go to work.”
- On 6 in 9 nights, “it’s something we have taken off the table. We know what it is but you get into the game and it’s the second round of the playoffs and those things we don’t even talk about. It’s just petal to the metal.
- The crowd,” a huge factor, we lost the second game but recognize that we need to stay away from the roller coaster and we have home ice and we need to go out and kick some butt.”
- On Sidney Crosby, “he is a great player and we need to get more than one person to cover him, if he has it or Malkin we want to swamp them with people.”
2:40PM: Earlier today, new Hurricanes GM Ron Francis fired head coach Kirk Muller and his staff.
Chip Alexander speculates that Francis may look at his former teammate and Rangers assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson as a candidate. He also mentions Kevin Dineen, formerly of the Panthers and another former teammate, as a possible candidate.
Luke DeCock says that it would “not shock” him if Ulf Samuelsson is number one on the coaching list.
Bob McKenzie mentions Samuelsson as well as Dineen and Eddie Olczyk as possible candidates.
Samuelsson and Francis were teammates from 1984-85, first with Hartford and then with Pittsburgh, until Samuelsson was traded to the Rangers in 1995-96.
The two won two Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh and were traded together from Hartford to Pittsburgh for John Cullen, Jeff Parker and Zarley Calapski.
- Is this a special time for you, “it will, the history of both teams makes it special. The good years that I had with both, first with the Pens and winning the cup a couple times and making a lot of friends that I still keep up with and then the Rangers.”
- 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.