Here’s my Rangers notebook from practice today, from lohud.com:
By Rick Carpiniello
GREENBURGH – Rangers center Derek Stepan practiced with the team Friday, for the first time since he suffered a broken fibula during the first week of training camp.
Stepan is eligible to come off the long-term injured reserve list Monday against St. Louis, though coach Alain Vigneault said there is no definite timetable for his return.
“The whole motto has been “crawl before you can walk,” Stepan said about taking the next step, which would be full-contact practice. That could come as early as Sunday.
“(This) is a huge step mentally. I was skating probably four or five days by myself and it’s just not the same. … The wife and the dog are probably sick of me.”
Vigneault said “I would not rule anything out” about whether Stepan could play Monday, but that ideally Stepan would get in more than one full-contract practice first.
MOORE APOLOGIZES: John Moore, suspended five games for a head-shot on Minnesota’s Erik Haula Monday, said he respects the league’s decision. Moore reached out to former Rangers teammate Justin Falk, now a member of the Wild, and got Haula’s phone number. He called to apologize.
“Certainly I’m never trying to hurt somebody intentionally,” the soft-spoken defenseman said. “I need to be physical, but there’s also that line. There I crossed it.
“There’s no one to blame here by myself. Those are hits I can’t make. … I crossed the line and that can’t happen.”
Vigneault said “the hit went bad. He was an inch away from it being a great hit.”
Michael Kostka will play in Moore’s spot Saturday against Winnipeg, and Vigneault said there are no plans to call up a defenseman from Hartford (AHL), although that can be done on short notice if needed.
BOYLE ON ICE: Dan Boyle (broken hand) has been skating on his own, though he can’t stick-handle or shoot the puck. He is just over three weeks into a 4-6 week injury. Vigneault said that Boyle should be more ready than Stepan once medically cleared because he has been able to skate during his time off.
Photos by Getty Images.