Rangers at Islanders … It’s Go Time! … Vigneault’s still got decisions to make


NEW YORK – There were still several important personnel decisions for Rangers coach Alain Vigneault and his staff to make in the team’s next-to-last preseason game Tuesday in Brooklyn.

So Vigneault watched the game from a skybox to keep a keen eye on the players on and around the bubble, with associate coach Scott Arniel handling the bench.

The Rangers have an off-day scheduled Wednesday, then play Philadelphia at the Garden in the preseason finale Thursday. So opportunities are still there, but they won’t be there for long.

Vigneault also planned to have cuts after the game against the Islanders. Earlier in the day, the Rangers released Maxim Lapierre from his tryout contract, and waived Mat Bodie, Tommy Hughes, Chris Summers and Chris Brown for the purpose of assigning them to Hartford. That left the roster at 34 players.

“I originally had planned on going (into Thursday’s game) as close as I could to our (opening night) lineup, but now I feel with what I’ve seen that we might need that last game to make better assessments on certain players. So it might not be our exact lineup. It definitely won’t be.”

Also, Mats Zuccarello is not expected to play Thursday, after his Olympic trials with Norway and his World Cup run with Team Europe, but that could change.

The bubble guys include Marek Hrivik, who is “in the mix” according to Vigneault, battling for a fourth-line spot with, presumably, Nathan Gerbe and Tanner Glass, among others – Malte Stromwall and Robin Kovacs being longer shots.

Brandon Pirri (four preseason goals, but some glaring weaknesses also) is still seemingly vying for a spot with rookie Pavel Buchnevich, who had a bunch of scoring chances Monday in Philadelphia and received praise Tuesday.

“I’ve liked him,” Vigneault said. “Anybody who’s watched him closely sees that offensively he’s creating opportunities. He hasn’t finished but he’s getting some real Grade A scoring opportunities. He’s been, in my estimation, poised on the power play. And defensively he’s working extremely hard to come back and help and try and implement some of the things we’ve been working on. His English is better than he lets on, so I’ve liked a lot of things I’ve seen from him. He seems like a very coachable young man, and he’s certainly got a lot of upside.”

On Monday, after Pirri scored again, Vigneault said, “there’s no doubt that he’s got a knack to find the net and score. … “But there’s other areas where I need to be sure he’s going to be able to make the play – get the puck out, be strong on the wall, and (Monday) in certain areas he needed to make a better play. But there’s no doubt offensively that he’s got good hands and he can find the back of the net.”

It would seem the ninth forward, or the third-line winger, is the only spot open for either of those players. One could be the 13th forward,  scratched on opening night.

On defense, Adam Clendening is trying to win a right-side spot, probably as a third-pair or an extra, in a battle with Dylan McIlrath, among others, John Gilmour being the longshot there, and Brady Skjei most certainly not having a job locked up. He may be Hartford-bound to start the season.

NOTEBOOK: No punishment for Gudas, Vesey OK, Lapierre gave “his best shot” …

Radko Gudas of Philadelphia did not/will not have a disciplinary hearing for his boarding major against Jimmy Vesey Monday. “I’ve seen that hit many times before, from that player,” Vigneault said. “I’ll leave it at that.” Vesey is fine, other than a sore nose. …

In his previous game, Vesey was run into the crossbar chin-first. “Been a tough couple of games, I guess,” he said, “but I don’t mind that. It felt like it woke me up a little bit. So, yeah, I’m fine with that stuff.” …

Josh Jooris (groin) skated Tuesday but is doubtful for Thursday’s game. Oscar Lindberg continues to skate as he hopes to return in November from hip surgery. …

Vigneault and GM Jeff Gorton have still not determined if they will carry 22 or 23 players into the season, due to cap issues. Having three  scratches per game might not be worth the cap implications down the road. Nor does it make sense for young players to sit around rather than playing in the minors. …

Vigneault, who coached Lapierre in Vancouver, said, “He gave it his best shot.”


Tonight’s probable lineup:
islanders logoKreider-Zibanejad-Pirri

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Photo by Brad Penner-USA Today Sports.




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  1. That slam that V-easy took into the crossbar looked at least as vicious as the Gudas hit. No call. Even the goalie’s career was at stake.

  2. However, all of the TV guys are loathe to tell you that anyone in redwhiteandblue did anything wrong anywhere on the ice. If you watch it on MSG, you have to figure it out for yourself or wait for Carp the next day.

  3. FYI, Winnipeg scout (and former NYR assistant coach) Jack Birch is here tonight.

    Of course, he’s their Eastern scout, so he’s here a lot. But you guys can feel free to run with that.

  4. Regardless of how much Sather is doing now, he has done more than enough damage and Gorton can still do very little thanks to Slat’s amazing decisions over the years!

  5. I dont know why but Zika reminds me of Peter Nedved. The way he skates and the way his jersey is tucked in. He’s even wearing #93.

  6. if i got sumo fat could i become a goalie?…i need a job and my reflexes are good…just thinking

  7. I realize its preseason, but can the defense take the guy out of the play? Dont circle all around the zone with him. Check him into the boards.

  8. Inthearmsofbrianboyle on

    So you go with Clendenning or BigMac. I think the former is a step ahead. Eric – why are you not @ the flying puck? They even show the game WITH sound.

  9. Still Boiled by NHLDPRSPCEHS on

    Looked to me like Bolton was going for a head shot on Clendenin on the penalties. Rookies should just take the face shot.

  10. Eddie Westfall says Boulton did a good job costing his team another two minutes, What a wacko.

  11. Butch Goring also agreed with the need for a retaliation penalty. After he saw in slow-mo. On replay. Funny guy.

  12. Isle’s commentators: “He’s not going to allow this!” Allow what? Rangers’ thugging?

  13. Micheletti last night extolling NYR improved power play. Seems to be 1 for 24. Maybe I missed something.

  14. I thought the anecdote about Glass working on his weaker leg over the summer was interesting. He does look much quicker than he did. I’d take him over Lapierre for sure

    Really can’t stand all the bashing around here about him. He shouldn’t be too dumb as a Dartmouth guy and at least the guy is working his tail off…suggests to me that he is either doing exactly what the coaches want of him, or he needs to be instructed to do otherwise

  15. Olga Folkyerself on

    I just shut off the sound of these announcers… Otherwise I’d have to jam sharpened pencils in each ear.

  16. Islanders scoreboard has McIlrath with 21:32 of ice time through the first 25:49 of play. Which would be a lot –

    sounds close to what a number one Dman would play under Torts

  17. Still Boiled by NHLDPRSPCEHS on

    Yes, Carp he saw him coming high… but he’s still a rookie!
    Like how Clendenning (sp?) Just stood & waited for retaliation chop. Nice &calm

  18. Did Jeff Beukeboom ever do the snow angel when he was playing? I don’t remember; I don’t recall.

  19. we're taking the armoire on

    Can’t believe they got everyone into this auto dealership showroom floor for the game…

  20. Thanks Carp. Now maybe you can explain why the pictures of the messier press conference below look like it took place in a basement of someone house. Knotty pine wood paneling and spray painted bricks lol

  21. 4th line going to be the 3Gs…grabner gerbe glass…book it ;)

    Brady bunch is going to be crestfallen

  22. Good thing AV watched from above, maybe he noticed how tiny Gerbe looks and Gerbe finally gets cut.

    I think it is a better idea to play 2 way forwards in 3 on 3 OT at least they are not clueless about defensive side of it.

    I really hate the 3 on 3 though, it just doesn’t feel right and is more of rich get richer mentality because you can only put 3 players on the ice so usually only the top players get to play.

  23. pic of Mess was taken in the old oak room — I forget what it’s called, but something royal, no doubt, at the Montreal Forum, James. They played Boston the night before, made the trade that morning, and flew to Montreal for the next game. Messier met them there.

  24. Stranger Nation on

    THE with the Kovie-like shift in OT. Haze leaves his mana and Beetle Bailey rams it home with Chimera on the crease.
    Team seems real vanilla right now. D very pedestrian.

  25. Seems like an obvious follow-up to the question about Brady would have been to ask AV to assess what he has seen from Girardi so far and where he sees Dylan and Clendening fitting in (if at all).

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