10:54PM: Quotes from the Rangers:
Alain Vigneault on tonight’s game…“Well, there were certain areas that we talked about before the game, about trying to be better one-on-one, trying to be a tad more physical when the opportunity was there. I thought we started off alright, but it makes it real challenging when you are down two to nothing early. With the difficulty of our offense right now, as far as scoring goals, it makes it very challenging and that’s what happened tonight.”
Henrik Lundqvist on tonight’s game…“It was not the start we were looking for, obviously, but still after two periods it is just a one goal game. We tried to fight back in the second and in the third, that third goal killed us. The only thing I know right now is it can only go up. Right now it’s extremely tough mentally and you try to be positive, you have to. There are so many games left. It’s just a really tough stretch for us right now where it’s hard to get points. You just have to work through it, stick together and like I said, be positive. It’s definitely a test for all of us.”
10:06PM: First Period:
- Nick Spaling 5 (Assists: Patric Hornqvist 10, David Legwand 16)
- Rich Clune 1 (Assists: Matt Hendricks 1, Paul Gaustad 1)
- Rick Nash 6 (Assists: Brad Richards 15, Derick Brassard 9)
- Matt Hendricks 2 (Assists: Rich Clune 1, Paul Gaustad 2)
- Paul Gaustad 4 (empty net) (Assists: David Legwand 17, Roman Josi 7)
- I have the same kind of vibe that I did at the end of the West Coast trip at the start of the year, where everything was going wrong, the team wasn’t playing well and all hope seemed lost. The difference is that at that time the team was on the road, just starting in a new system, hadn’t played at home, was missing key players and had over 70 games to turn things around. Now, the team is past 30 games, can’t win at home and just looks lost.
- There is definitely a book out on how to play the Rangers and it seems like every opponent has read it and following it step by step. They make the most simple looking plays seem difficult and I think Joe Micheletti is right with what he says that they look nervous on home ice.
- It’s another night where the Rangers have nearly as many shots blocked (24) as they do on goal (29). They are getting
- shots but they aren’t getting quality chances. They are making things too easy on inexperienced goalies. It’s frustrating.
- The holiday trade freeze starts on 12/19 and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Rangers do something before then. I don’t know what it is or who they would trade, but there is something that needs to be done in an attempt to shake things up and inject some life.
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7:21PM: Sam Rosen spoke with Alain Vigneault on the pre game show
- What do the Rangers need to do, “our compete level needs to be better and more consistent. With a high compete level you give yourself an honest chance and we have just been so inconsistent that we are scratching our heads a little bit. I believe in this group, the leadership and the core and at the end of the day we need to do it on the 200×85 and that is what we are counting on tonight.”
- On the changes, “Those guys bring a dimension to our team and the game and we are hoping that putting those two in will give us more bite and we will be more consistent.”
- Is this a crossroads point for the team, “I believe that you need to go on a game to game basis. We have a team that plays hard, has a good system and we need to focus on that. Focus on playing a good game and that is what we have been telling our guys.”
- On home vs road, “there shouldn’t be. Our road record in the last 10 is 8-2 and our home record is 3-6-1 I believe, I’m not 100% but that is what I think it is. There isn’t a home way to play and a road way to play, there is one way to play and it’s the right way. That is what we need them to do.”
- “we are not executing to the same level and hopefully we will tonight.”
2:15PM: Alain Vigneault met with the media this morning (Rangers):
- On Marc Staal, “Marc has been diagnosed with a concussion. He is being watched by our doctors. They don’t feel it’s as serious as what we may have had in the past. He is feeling better and we will take it day by day.”
- Will he see the specialist, “I think we have been in contact with the gentlemen from Detroit that we have used in the past but he doesn’t feel the need to see him at this point.”
- On the lack of production from the centers, “I’m not sure if I am surprised by it, I am disappointed in our compete level. Our consistent compete level is not there the way you need it to do be in such a competitive league. That may have something to do with why we are not generated that much offensively.”
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In the NY Post, Rick Nash spoke with Larry Brooks about his recovery from his concussion and Nash said that a big part of his rehab and recovery was knowing that the organization was so supportive of him taking his time and going at his own pace.
Nash said that he is confident that he is healthy, that all angles were covered and that all of the questions he had were answered .
For more on Nash’s concussion, CLICK HERE.
Devils LW Reid Boucher spoke today about his hit on Marc Staal that has left the Rangers defensemen with his second concussion in 3 seasons.
Boucher said that he feels bad that Staal is concussed (Tom Gulitti) and that Staal “just kind of stepped up at me on the blue line and I just kind of braced myself. It was just a hockey play. He had the forward lean coming in to hit me, so I don’t know if there was much I could have done there.”
Boucher said that he is aware of Staal’s concussion history and that he wasn’t trying to hurt him on the play.
It was announced earlier today that Staal suffered a concussion. The Rangers listed Staal yesterday as out indefinitely.
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Arron Asham returns to the Rangers lineup tonight after spending the first part of the season in Hartford.
He spoke today (Rangers) and said “Everyone knows that I am 35 and the style of game that I play is slowly fading. I am just taking every opportunity I get and trying to make the most of it.”
- “I will play my game, use my body and if I have to fight I will fight and I won’t change anything about my game. I am going to try and add some life to this team and get a couple of wins.”
- On the energy he can bring, “There is no point in changing. I will play my game, try and get some life into the fans and try and get some life off of that and I will play my game. Everyone is a little up tight and nervous around here and I will try and relax things.”
- On being back at MSG, “It will be good to come home and play in front of the fans and try to get a W tonight.”
- On him going to Hartford, “trying to nurture the young kids and be a leader on and off the ice and be a good presence in the dressing room. Try to make the guys down there better pros. It was tough going down there and getting the news that I would be going to the A. I held no grudges, it’s part of the game and I dealt with it.”
He said, “I don’t know how long I will be up but I will take advantage of it.”
Alain Vigneault has announced that Marc Staal has a concussion. (Rangers)
Early indications are that this concussion is not as serious as his previous concussion.
Staal has conversed with the Rangers concussion specialist in Michigan but no visit is planned as of now.
Staal was hit by Reid Boucher on Saturday night, got up on his own, slammed his helmet in the tunnel and didn’t return.
Vigneault said on Sunday that Staal was dealing with neck issues and feeling some symptoms related to a concussion.
11:20AM: Dominic Moore is also back in the lineup for JT Miller (Leonard)
11:04AM: Derek Dorsett and Arron Asham are in the Rangers lineup tonight and Benoit Pouliot and Taylor Pyatt are scratched. (Pat Leonard)
Henrik Lundqvist is in net.
10:51AM: It seems as if Henrik Lundqvist will start tonight against the Predators (Zipay)
10:29AM: Arron Asham is on the ice as well (Rangers)
10:26AM: Marc Staal is not taking part in today’s practice while Derek Dorsett, who has been out with a wrist injury, is on the ice. (Steve Zipay)
Dorsett has missed the last three games because of his wrist.
On MSG, after the Rangers lost to the Capitals, Henrik Lundqvist said that the Rangers can’t look anywhere but at themselves as for why they haven’t been playing up to their expectations.
Lundqvist said that they need to look at themselves and come together as a group to be better.
He added, “we know we are a good team, we all just have to be better.”
Adam Rotter: We will see what tonight brings for the Rangers. They should be good enough to win games and make the playoffs, anything more than that seems far fetched as of right now, but it’s on the Rangers top players (Ryan Callahan, Brad Richards, Rick Nash, Dan Girardi and Lundqvist) to play at their best and turn things around. The only top guy on the team playing like he should is Ryan McDonagh. Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello are effective players but they aren’t and shouldn’t be the guys that the team is relying on to carry them. It’s a group effort of players who need to step up, but it starts at the top and needs to trickle down.
Following the Rangers loss to the Capitals on Sunday, Dave Maloney said that the Rangers aren’t skilled enough to be a skilled team and aren’t physical enough to be a physical team.
Maloney added that ever since the Rangers loss to the Bruins on the day after Thanksgiving, teams have been coming into Madison Square Garden and having their way with the Rangers.
Joe Micheletti said after the game that the Rangers seem to turn the puck over more than usual when they are playing without fire and intensity. He added that after the first few minutes against the Capitals, the Rangers became a very easy team to play against and one that lacked that “oomph” and the “gumption” they need on a nigh to night basis.
Larry Brooks writes in the NY Post that while the Rangers need their top players to step up, they need the players on the fourth line to set a tone, be disruptive and be a “pain to play against.”