For a team that is riding a scintillating one-game winning streak, the Rangers were a buoyant bunch at practice today, a mood best encapsulated by an impromptu 55th birthday celebration for trainer Bruce “The Masseuse” Lifrieri. After the entire team gathered in a trainer’s room for the surprise, Paul Mara brought in a cake and the entire group broke into a hardy, if woefully off-key version of “Happy Birthday.”
“Needs work,” I said after players filed out of the room.
No one was in a position to disagree.
As for their performance on the ice, the Rangers say they are content to be back to the defensive style that defined the early part of their season. That may not be what people want to hear if they think 2-1 hockey games are a tad on the dull side. But it’s very much what the team thinks it needs to be successful.
“The last three or four games we’ve really gotten back to working,” Markus Naslund said. “We weren’t making lazy plays, but now we’re more on our toes. It’s a work in progress, but we’re headed in the right direction.”
Some other notes:
<li>Naslund didn’t skate today because of a tweaked groin. He worked out off-ice and is expected to be fine for tomorrow.
<li>For months a collection of Brendan Shanahan sticks have sat in a spot right inside the door to the Rangers’ dressing room. Those sticks were finally gone today, and now presumably sit in a similar spot in Newark.
<li>Great line from Lauri Korpikoski when walking past a bunch of us in the Rangers’ dressing room. “Goal-scorer coming through,” he said.