1) So I guess John Tortorella wasn’t the only coach who thinks Chris Kreider is not yet ready. And by the way, J.T. Miller knew there was a job at stake and played his tail off. I’m not sure Kreider did the same. I still think he’s a can’t-miss very good NHL player for a long time, but a lot of people—especially here, got way too starry-eyed over the kid scoring some amazing and huge goals in that one playoff year, when he was really bad some games in those playoffs. And he was bad last year. I still think he’s got some figuring out to do, and I’m not sure he’s ever going to be the 30+ goal scorer some of you had pegged for him.
2) The Rangers are in under the cap with 23 players once Carl Hagelin goes on LTIR. He can’t play the first 10 games, and that’s about where the doctors have his return penciled anyway. Once he comes back, they will have some maneuvering to do to get back under the cap.
3) Darroll Powe isn’t the only one who has to clear waivers to go to Hartford. Brandon Mashinter and Stu Bickell do too.
4) I know Alain Vigneault doesn’t mean it this way, but Brad Richards ought to take this move to the wing as a shot over the bow. No? I mean, it’s kind of a wakeup call. Right? Or maybe Vigneault, like a lot of folks up North, thinks Richards is still the player the back of his hockey card says he is and wants an eggs-in-one-basket first line. But maybe he should have watched some of those 2013 tapes that showed Richards and Nash just don’t work.
5) The thing about the 1-5 preseason that should scare you, of course, is the number of goals scored (nine in six games). I’d say a lot of that had to do with the fact that most nights, they had only two of their top six forwards in the lineup, and some nights none, unless you think Derick Brassard is one. And the other scary part, maybe, is that the top three highest paid players on the team played horribly. I’m not worried about the goalie. The other two …?
6) So I’m finally becoming convinced that Ryan Callahan will not be able to talk himself into the opening-night lineup. I’m not at all convinced that he’s done trying, though. He will play on the trip, though, I’m sure. Probably Game 2, if I had to guess.
7) Henrik Lundqvist was asked if there was an update on his contract, since he said he wants it settled before the season opens. He laughed “we still have three more days.” Not sure he thinks it’s funny, though.
8) A somewhat interesting item when we walked into the lockerroom for the first time in the AV Era: The stalls were relocated so that all the defensemen are seated in one area together.
9) AV sort of said that Conor Allen is the organizational seventh D, but that he needs to play … and the seventh D on the NHL roster is not going to play.
10) Arron Asham=necessary piece of the lineup, for what that’s worth. Team needs some muscle badly.
11) Vigneault said he liked Jesper Fast’s “hockey smarts and skill level” and being a right-hander they need helped the decision. Miller “just got better as the camp went on,” he said. “He was able to put a foot in the door.”
Here’s my story from lohud.com and The Journal News, unedited version:
By Rick Carpiniello
GREENBURGH – The Rangers got their roster down to 24 players by making seven cuts Sunday, including the demotion of Chris Kreider to the Hartford Wolfpack of the AHL.
Kreider did not do enough to earn an NHL spot to open this season, and was outplayed by rookies J.T. Miller and Jesper Fast, who both made the roster for the opener in Arizona Thursday.
“I thought Chris had a good camp, but at the end of the day … we came to the conclusion that he’s a really young player and he needs to play,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “As much as I believe he’s real close and probably could play at our level right now, he needs to play big minutes and good minutes and I felt, with our group right now, he wasn’t going to be able to get those minutes.”
In addition to Kreider, forwards Oscar Lindberg, Marek Hrivik, Brandon Mashinter and Darroll Powe, and defensemen Conor Allen and Stu Bickel, were also assigned to Hartford. Powe, Mashinter and Bickel must clear NHL waivers first.
To get to the maximum 23-man roster and under the salary cap by Monday evening, the Rangers will place Carl Hagelin (shoulder surgery) on long-term injured reserve, meaning he will not be eligible for the first 10 games of the season. When he does return the Rangers will have to make a move to get back under the cap.
Arron Asham, who cleared waivers with Powe in July, made the team, as did seventh defenseman Justin Falk, though Allen, the impressive rookie, might be the the seventh D organizationally.
Captain Ryan Callahan and Vigneault both said that Callahan (shoulder surgery) will not play Thursday, but he could play on the trip that includes three games in California.
Rick Nash sat out practice with a bruised foot, but when he returns, probably Tuesday, he is expected to play on a line with Derek Stepan in the middle and Brad Richards, who played on the left wing in practice, as the Rangers have five centers.
Photo by The Associated Press.