Our weekly Live Chat is today at noon. Be there. Or else.
Also, with the light schedule coming up, and a bunch of road games, if anybody wants to vent or opine in a guest blog, this would be a good time for that. If you’re interested, drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s my story from lohud.com:
By Rick Carpiniello
GREENBURGH – The Rangers’ defense will have a different look when they resume Saturday in Detroit following a four-day respite.
Captain Ryan McDonagh returns to his natural, more comfortable left side, and with his usual partner Dan Girardi, as Dan Boyle comes back after missing two games with mysterious flu-like symptoms.
Boyle should be paired with Marc Staal – his usual partner, though they haven’t had a lot of opportunity to play together. Boyle missed 14 games after suffering a broken hand on opening night, returned for seven games and was just feeling comfortable when he sat out due to the illness.
“I think it’s official,” Boyle cracked. “I think the hockey gods are not happy that I signed here. … I don’t know if they’re Islander fans or Detroit fans or what, but they’re definitely not happy with me signing here. With playoffs, I’ve played almost 1,100 games and I’ve never missed a game for the flu. Pretty strange season altogether.”
Boyle had blood tests to rule out mumps, the NHL’s latest scourge, and skated Wednesday on his own. He was back at practice, on the No. 1 power play, Thursday.
With Tanner Glass still out with the mumps, somebody placed blue surgical masks at every player’s locker Thursday.
Glass is feeling better and is beyond the contagious stage. He skated on his own Thursday, and could practice with the team Friday and return by Monday. He will not travel to Detroit.
“He’s got a face only a mother could love right now,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said.
As for McDonagh’s move to the left, Vigneault said, “Ryan, for me, is one of the most dedicated players I’ve ever coached. He’ll work his way back to where he needs to be. Whether he’s left or right he can be one of the best defensemen on either side.
“But putting him back on the left side with (Girardi) is probably a good thing. We talked this morning about, ‘Let’s focus on defending here. Let’s defend real well and then the offense will come after.’”
HENRIK’S HUDDLE: Henrik Lundqvist, at the end of practice, called the defensemen together for an on-ice meeting.
“Every little thing matters,” Lundqvist said. “When you have extra days like this, that’s what you do. You look at the bigger picture and how we play, but also the small details within the game and try to improve.”
“That’s a real important part of teams’ success, when guys exchange information, how they feel about certain plays on the ice. We do a lot of that through video,” Vigneault said. “But any time players do it between themselves, that good internal peer pressure to prepare, to perform, there’s really not much that beats that.”
Vigneault did not name a goalie for Saturday, saying he knows who it will be, but that he hadn’t discussed it with Lundqvist or Cam Talbot yet.
Photos by Getty Images.