A few quick items before the interviews:
• Daniel Alfredsson skated for over an hour at the Senators’ optional practice in Ottawa today. It was the second straight day he skated, although this time someone was there to see it.
“We’re encouraged and optimistic about Alfie,” Paul MacLean told NHL.com. “We’ll see how he is tomorrow.”
• Also, nothing new from Ottawa on Jesse Winchester, who missed Game 5 with an “upper-body injury” that ruled out at least half his body. Doesn’t sound like the other half has made any improvements though.
• Eleven Rangers skated at today’s practice: Carl Hagelin, Artem Anisimov, Martin Biron, Stu Bickel, Anton Stralman, Chris Kreider, John Mitchell, Mike Rupp, John Scott, Steve Eminger and Jeff Woywitka. John Tortorella was not actually on the ice with the players, who were just there for a workout. A few others were seen around the dressing room, but only Brad Richards was made available to reporters.
• Hagelin easily amounted to today’s biggest story. He returns tomorrow night for Game 6 after serving his three-game suspension.
As you can hear below in the interview, Hagelin doesn’t expect he’ll be rusty after the absence. He said he’ll play the same style of game and doesn’t fear that it will take him over the edge like in Game 2 (according to Shanny).
• The only other player who faced a crowd around his locker was Kreider. The rookie basically doubled his ice time from Game 4 to Game 5 and picked up a couple key shifts late Saturday night with the Rangers desperate for the equalizer. Tortorella called Kreider “an interesting cat” after the game and said the rookie could play more minutes in Game 6.
Tortorella appeared set on keeping Kreider in the lineup despite the return of Hagelin. When asked today if Kreider’s increased minutes were the result of his improved play or the failures of others, Tortorella said “both.”
Here’s what Kreider had to say about his improved confidence, his one great chance in Game 5 and more…