Chris Kreider joined the Rangers at their practice facility and was the first player on the ice this morning.
Kreider practiced on the third line with JT Miller and Brian Boyle. Here's the rest of the lines (via Bergen Record)...
Kreider spoke with Andrew Gross at the Bergen Record about why his game turned around with the Whale...
“I was able to play big minutes and play in all situations. Any time you can do that, it helps your development, I guess.”
...can someone please hand deliver that quote to Tortorella. Kid needs to play to be successful. Period. Now, Kreider needs to hold up his end of the bargain as well. If he goes out and plays tentative then Tortorella has no choice but to cut down on his ice time. But from what I've seen of him down in Hartford it looks like it may have finally clicked from him.
Meanwhile, in a piece of surprising news, Henrik Lundqvist will get the start tonight.
...this move pretty much tells you where Torts' head is at. The Rangers need points and he can't take a chance on his backup goaltender having an off night. Plus Henrik has been on top of his game so why not ride him.
I thought Biron would be a shoe-in...I guess it makes sense. plus they have two days off after tonight... Can't see seeing Gilroy again, barring injury.
The right wings should play on the right. Nash has scored a lot of his goals from the right side, including the goal on Tuesday night when DZ got him the puck with space and had room to shoot.
Hagelin -- Stepan -- Nash
Callahan -- Richards -- Gaborik
Kreider -- Halpern-- Miller
Pyatt -- Boyle -- Powe
@AG_Blue I like these lines.
@AG_Blue I think you need to break up Gaborik and Richards. It's like trying to cure a hangover by sniffing glue. The guys need to be surrounded by players who are going already.
@AG_Blue the 4th line sees limited minutes anyway.
@rangersfan @AG_Blue Gordie Howe on the 4th line? Maybe that's what it takes for them to get a regular shift.
@rangersfan -- here's an Andrew Gross post that cites Tortorella as "not comfortable" rolling four lines. I wouldn't be comfortable either when I look at who that 4th line was comprised of ...
@rangersfan ... it's always in the context of being effective. Usually Torts just hasn't felt the 4th line kept the game moving his way. Rolling four lines is like a luxury to him. Halpern and Powe make the other team have to keep working hard when our 4th line is on and Torts has taken advantage.
@AG_Blue perhaps I am wrong. But Torts is the one who constantly says he doesn't like to play 4 lines. And he kept saying last year that that was the first time in his career that he had ever played 4 lines that much.
@rangersfan -- You're wrong: Torts is totally in favor of a 4th line that can play minutes, but if he isn't happy with the line they'll be benched.
However, I do agree with you about Boyle on the 4th with Pyatt and Powe (see my lines above).
Miller did okay at center, and I'm sure if he kept playing there his game would have come along just as it has on the wing -- he's more of a center anyway -- but Boyle's faceoff prowess keeps him in the middle.
@AG_Blue I agree. I'm in favor of a 4th line getting 10 minutes. It's just that Torts isn't. Anyway, I think Boyle, Pyatt and Howe would actually be a pretty good 4th line. I just think Boyle isn't cutting it as a 3rd line center and we need to give someone else a chance - even Miller.
@rangersfan -- Ideally we have a 4th line that can put up some minutes while wearing out the other team and letting our top guys rest. That's why we're looking for a 4th line that can play more minutes. That's why Halpern and Powe have stuck together, because they make our 4th line effective. In turn, that's why Boyle continues to get 3rd line minutes.
I'm a little perplexed why Torts is keeping Gaborik and Richards together when they are both struggling so much. I'd rather see Stephan with Gaborik and Nash and Richards with Callahan and Hagelin. At least there's only one weak link per line.
And another thing: I can see why Gaborik's game has fallen off so much, but I can't see anything specific about Richard's game that's really that different from years gone by. He's slow, but he was always slow. Very confused as to why Richards' game has fallen off the way it has.
@rangersfan THANK YOU.
WTF is up with richy?
@rangersfan A couple theories on that. 1. His game was never great in my opinion to begin with and 2. He seems to be trying too hard to score instead of playing his game. A good example was the 3 on 2 last game with Gabby and Nashty crashing the net. Richey tried to go top corner (and missed the net) rather than shooting low and hard and playing the percentages for a rebound. I think with Richey it's a mind set. With Gabby it's the shoulder
@Betweentheworlds Mostly agree with you, but disagree that he was never that good. He was never GREAT, but he has always been very good. He's always played with major league talent though, but that isn't any different in New York.
@rangersfan don't disagree with that, yes with the Stars he was solid and he picked it up for us last season with some clutch scoring and wound up with decent numbers. I'm just having a hard time seeing where he fits in right now.
@rangersfan Take a look at the offensive leaders in the NHL. Most of them are young players well under 30. Then take a look at the guys who led the league at the end of the year last year. There's a lot more vets in the list. I think the shortened season has really been tough for Richards to find his groove. The lack of training camp is one thing, but it's also the intensity of the games. In a regular season the intensity is not there so they can build up to their game. This season, it's been a race from the start so he's had no time to adjust. I think he'll come around towards the last 3rd of the season. Gabby may be the same, but I think his issues may have been more health related to start and now he's just lost his rythym and confidence.
@gravey94 I hope you're right. There don't seem to be any injury issues. His lack of speed is what it is. He's surrounded by good talent. There's really no explanation other than confidence / decision making. We need Richards to be a star (not a Star) again if we are going anywhere in the playoffs.
@rangersfan Yea, I think a lot of the vets are having trouble finding the groove. Hell, there's not even a Sedin in the top 20 of scoring!
@rangersfan The wish passing is what annoys me about his game.
He's the big assist setup guy, but the law of averages tells ya if you throw out 15-25 hail mary passes, one of them might catch your teammate's stick...MAYBE...and when it does you look like a genius and the boner passes preceding it are forgotten.
@_Jack kinda describes Del Zotto more than Richards, no? Although Del Zotto has improved a lot on this front clearly (For the record I am not a Del Zotto hater; The guy makes unbelievably boneheaded plays and is careless with the puck sometimes but overall he's a net positive).
I don't get it with Richards though. His numbers are nosediving, and he's playing with Nash. Can't pinpoint it.
Great. I get to see Hank in net tonight. I like this move. Thanks Torts for a great birthday present. Nothing again Biron, but you gotta ride the lightning. The lightning in this case is Hank. Because lightning is hot. And so is Hank. By hot, I mean playing well. I mean he is good looking for a guy and all, but you know what I mean.
Besides Miller and Kreider, who are 20 and 21 respectively, Hagelin, Stepan, McDonagh, and Del Zotto are all 24 and under. That's 6 kids on the roster. Meanwhile, Staal, Stralman, and Bickel are only 26 (and Sauer is 25, wish he could play). Torts has helped all of the above to be successful. I guarantee you he wants the same for Kreider. The idea that Torts didn't give Kreider a chance is ludicrous. The coach can't just give an inexperienced kid who's still trying to learn how to play in the big league a bunch of minutes to figure it out; we have a game to win, and it's even more pressing in this lockout shortened season. Torts would prefer to play the kids if they can hack it. Kreider is close, they're trying to get him over the hump. Kreider has a chance tonight. Hopefully his awareness and his all around game are improving and he can build on that and earn himself more time on the ice by playing hard and playing smart when he comes out tonight.
@AG_Blue No way, Torts totally has it out for Kreider cause when they were kids together Kreider stole his favorite toy and then broke it so it wouldn't fly anymore. He swore one day he would get him back and now here he is preventing him from playing in the NHL. True story!
@TheNYRBlog He's gotta give KREIDS some good minutes and PP too!
As much as I would like to see Kreider get top two ice time I think these are the best lines this team could have. Top two lines that can really score and a young third line to bring energy and still add some scoring.
I still like Hags and Step with Nash, and Cally with Richards and Gabby, but I won't complain. These lines are good. I'm not thrilled with Boyle, but I believe he can play 3rd line minutes. I would put him on the 4th line but Powe and Halpern have been too good together. Hopefully Pyatt can skate with them.
Having Kreider on a line with Miller, in my opinion, is putting him in a position to succeed. No way Torts is breaking up the top two lines for Kreider, who is really an unknown right now. Nice mix of speed and size on 3rd line, which should open up ice for Kreider.
KD-Not one guy in the lineup that can drop the gloves tonight or protect. Like Kredier back in lineup but if someone starts ... Don't tell me Boyle pls. @KevinDeLury
@KevinDeLury Me likey. But Boyler needs to step it up. JT's been carrying the play. While Boyle hasn't hurt us, he's not taken that next step either. I'll give him props though...he had the hit of the game in NJ, with the total destruction of Volchenkov early on. It was so beautiful, during the next stoppage, I rewound my DVR to watch it again.
@TheNYRBlog Riding the horses.
@mvmone No choice at this point.
torts has to put kreider in a position to succeed. is that likely? i dont know. his line has potential (someone pull that cup of decaf out of boyles hand and ransom his dog). kreider has too much damn potential. size, shot, sick speed.
hand to god, id rather see torts go before kreider goes.
@JP_70 -- by calling him back up and playing him in the game, Torts has put Kreider in a position to succeed. He's got to make due with what he's given -- you can't go and say, oh, he should have been on the first or second line. He has to go out and play hard, like he's trying to win a hockey game, and he will earn more time. He didn't exactly do that when he was up here before -- and it's not his fault, he's inexperienced and opponents took advantage of that leaving Kreider out of position and looking confused. The kid is developing. Torts has not hurt that. Kreider has to come out tonight and play like he knows what he's doing and play hard. Torts is rooting for him as much as any of us.
@AG_Blue @JP_70 Not that I like the lines as is but with that said there is no room for Kreid in the top 2 lines and he needs to show he can play hard at both ends. I blame Torts for a lot but not for Kreider. I think he did gave Kreid a chance and he dropped the ball (as you said just inexperience, no fault of his). He seems more confident now and is in a position to earn his coaches respect and get more playing time down the road. Also he and Miller should be a nice fit with good chemistry potential. I think if Boyle plants that big body of his in front of the net and doesn't worry too much about skating (especially if he is chewing gum) this line could be OK>