Flyers at Rangers … It’s Go Time! … Still jobs up for grabs in preseason finale


NEW YORK – Rangers coach Alain Vigneault promised a very competitive camp, and the Rangers most certainly delivered.

It was competitive to the point where Vigneault had to scrap his original plan of having pretty much his opening-night lineup for the final preseason game against Philadelphia at the Garden Thursday.

Instead, the lineup was again loaded with players hoping to win jobs, including two injured players who had played, combined, less than one period of preseason hockey to that point.

“Another chance for us to evaluate our team and try to put the puzzle together, where the pieces fit, how they can possibly fit, who’s ready to assume maybe a bigger role, or a first-time role on this team,” Vigneault said.

“There are two to four decisions, right now, that we’re looking at, that we haven’t made up our minds on.”

Eyes were on several spots. With forwards Derek Stepan, Rick Nash, Mika Zinabejad, Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello, J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes and Jimmy Vesey locks, there was only one top-nine spot available – with Pavel Buchnevich and Brandon Pirri the apparent candidates.

The fourth line was wide open, though Michael Grabner and Jesper Fast would seem to be sure-things. Both are wingers, and since Nathan Gerbe is the only candidate who has played center, that line seemed to be somewhat set. But what to do with Tanner Glass? Or who does he replace if he remains a regular?

Also, centers Josh Jooris, who suffered a groin injury in the first period of the first preseason game, and Cristoval “Boo” Nieves, who was hurt at last month’s Traverse City prospects tournament after impressing coaches and the front office with his added muscle and improved skating, were both in the lineup against the Flyers, centering the third and fourth lines.

“It’s just a limited time, but it’s never too late to make a positive impression,” Vigneault said of those two forwards.

But the biggest, most interesting decisions remain on defense, where Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal, Nick Holden and Brady Skjei play the left side and Kevin Klein, Dan Girardi, Adam Clendening and Dylan McIlrath play the right. Holden has played right side quite a bit in camp, while Clendening has impressed, and Skjei and McIlrath struggled.

If Holden is indeed going to play the right side, Skjei would probably get a top-six spot on the left. If Holden plays the left, there is no starting spot for Skjei, and Klein, Girardi and Clendening line up on the right.

There aren’t many scenarios in which McIlrath beats out any of the other right-siders, and since he requires waivers to go to Hartford (AHL) and would likely be claimed, Rangers GM Jeff Gorton is probably looking to make a trade.

So perhaps Skjei, who doesn’t require waivers, could start the season in Hartford until a deal is made. Or the Rangers could keep eight defensemen for the time being, though it makes no sense for Skjei to sit around as an extra when he could be playing big minutes in the AHL.


NOTEBOOK: Vesey wins Sjoberg award, Hrivik, Jensen clear waivers …

Vesey was named the winner of the Lars-Erik Sjoberg award as the top rookie in training camp. The award is named for the late Rangers scout and former WHA star defenseman.

Marek Hrivik and Nicklas Jensen, who were put on waivers Wednesday, cleared at noon on Thursday and were assigned to Hartford. Goalie Magnus Hellberg was waived Thursday so that he can go to Hartford too. …

Henrik Lundqvist was scheduled to start and play his first full game of the preseason Thursday. McDonagh, Mats Zuccarello, Derek Stepan Glass were not in uniform. Zuccarello, who played in Olympic qualifying games for Norway, and then played eight World Cup games for Team Europe, did not play in the preseason. …

The Flyers had Radko Gudas in the lineup. Gudas received a major penalty and game misconduct for boarding Vesey in Philadelphia Monday, but received no further discipline from the NHL. …

The Rangers (2-1-2 before Thursday) will be off the ice Friday and Sunday, then convene Monday to prep for their regular-season opener against the Islanders Thursday at the Garden. They technically do not need to have their 23-man (or 22 if they choose) roster set until Monday, but Vigneault indicated there will be roster cuts after the game or Friday.

Tonight’s probable lineup:
flyers logo smallVesey-Hayes-Gerbe


·         Oct. 5, 1991 – Mark Messier made his Rangers debut and the Blueshirts defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 2-1, in overtime in Montreal.

·         Oct. 5, 1996 – Wayne Gretzky made his Rangers debut.

·         Oct. 5, 2006 – Jaromir Jagr was named the 24th captain in Rangers history, and Brendan Shanahan recorded his 600th career NHL goal while making his debut with the Blueshirts.

·         Oct. 6, 1996 – Wayne Gretzky skated in his first game as a Ranger at Madison Square Garden.


Click here to go to @RangersReport on Twitter.

Photo by Getty Images.




About Author


  1. ORR!! What Is It Good For!!?? on

    Hopefully this game doesn’t turn out like that Renney coached game in 2006 when he sat all his tough guys and Fedoruk went after everybody. Renney had to learn the hard way that game. Orr took care of business next time around.

  2. Carp,wouldn’t say sather excelled on contract negotiations at all. Only current contract of his that is tolerable is Mac’s, rest are a disaster and he got bailed out of more than a few via buyouts and a GM dumb enough to take on the deal. I guess you could ask slats what he would do and then do the exact opposite

  3. I’ll give you Zuc and good not to sign cally (though he traded too much to get msl), but far more duds than gems when it came to long term deals and 4th liners

  4. I notice ranger players still love doing the old flop in front of the goalie trick in front of Lundqvist.

  5. Pirri good offense no defensive is balanced out by Nash’s good defense , no offensive
    Yea baby… I’m in mid-season form!

  6. Nieves says he has no idea why his parents call him Boo. Hard to believe he never got around to asking.

  7. we're taking the armoire on

    Nah I disagree puck was only gone for a millisecond and he rode him out ..Ole rime hockey..dit clapper ..Eddie shore….SCOUTS?

  8. TB retiring MSL’s number. Might have to pick up some earplugs at the Greenwich Pool Supply store.

  9. Like every other penalty called in the nhl, depends on the ref who is calling the penalty, nhl, the worse officiated game in all of pro sports, they did a better job when they only used 1 official, go figure.

  10. we're taking the armoire on

    All Ranger jerseys at MSG gift shop same price except #61 priced higher. .must be the intangibles

  11. Carp Pirri is a goal scorer, he’ll make the team. So will 89 & 93 & 26 as well. We’re bigger & faster. That being said team defense needs much improvement.

  12. we're taking the armoire on

    I gotta thank u in person someday Carp I’m the 62 year old with the large grey beard..I’ve entered the civil war reanactment phase of my retirement

  13. From what I’ve seen so far this preseason, defense hasn’t improved but I expect Gorton to eventually fix the problem, eventually.

  14. Tommy Laidlaw on

    Holden good defenseman, Pirri,sniper, I live in Ft . Lauderdale, watch a lot of Panthers games through the years, we will like those 2 ,wished we would’ve gotten P Bure years earlier, o well

  15. I’d give jooris a few games to show what he has and risk gerbe on waivers (not very impressive). Odds are against it i guess but I’d keep 8 d for 10-15 games to see if Girard can actually handle 3rd pair. if he can’t then you decide who you want playing more Dylan or Clendening? Though I guess we know who AV would rather play

  16. Olga Folkyerself on

    Why did France have so many civil wars?
    A. Because they wanted to win a war once in awhile…

  17. we're taking the armoire on

    Up here in the bleeders it’s painfully obvious how much Done G has slowed d o w n

  18. Joe: “Griardi has lost fifty pounds, Sam, and he looks to be in the best shape of his life.”

    Sam: “You’re right, Joe.”

  19. Not for nuttin, but Don Clendenon and Erin Kliener don’t look any better than Girardi this game

  20. we're taking the armoire on

    Got sick twice today ..had to see Odumbo and the Penguins on the same screen..

  21. I think Kreider is going to have his break out season this year because of Zibanejad being his center, love that trade, Zibanejad looks good, don’t understand that trade by the senators GM, Zibanejad better two way player, better shot, younger, cheaper.

  22. Slatsko Folkyerself on

    “Odumbo and the Penguins “…
    Could be worse. Next year it might be Orange Hitler and the Flyers.

  23. I played high school basketball with a guy like Pirri. We called him ‘Chucker.’ Every game 20 for 65, 40 points.

  24. Only saw the second period, but if the name of the game is puck possession, the Rangers are not very good after the top line.

  25. John Giannone is an excellent interviewer. He sounds like FOX’s Bret Baier in timber, tone and intelligence. His voice, unfortunately, doesn’t work for play-by-play in a loud arena.

  26. we're taking the armoire on

    Is the bud light chucker from Toronto at this game? If so I’ll buy the beer if you can reach Gudas…

  27. Very, very happy to see Beuk animated and hollering on the bench. Maybe he’ll straighten out this bucket of worms at last.

  28. Well at least Girardi didn’t do his famous snow angel on the ice during that goal. Lawd…

  29. we're taking the armoire on

    My son’s last 3 jerseys are unwearable..Hagelin 62 Cally 24 and 44 Hollweg…

  30. Boy McIlrath was brutal on those two goals

    Kreider looks good….should have let them fight

  31. Did Kreider take those off-season boxing lessons? All we need is Kreider with a broken finger.

  32. With other teams in the east improving, rangers might be fighting for the 7th/8th spot this year.

  33. we're taking the armoire on

    A LOT of pi zzed off fans in this section after refs ruined the weigh in..let em loose bruce

  34. Thinking of Giannone, I remember almost a decade ago him, with his Italian up, going eye to eye with Avery. I went back and found the blog from that night, and Sally said: “Avery was ticked off because Giannone showed up wearing the same dress.” :) What happened to Sally???

  35. we're taking the armoire on

    I sure hope after tonight AV doesn’t think we need Glass in the line up

  36. LOL Fat Guy. I had a cabbie last week who said that back in his old country, he was the King.

  37. we're taking the armoire on


  38. Eine Kleine spun like a harp. Yikes! No papa johns tomorrow I guess.
    I like the play of Beast-nevich so far.

  39. we're taking the armoire on

    Man Hank is floppin like a Carp out of water….


  40. No question who the better team is tonight. Many pundits are picking the Rangers to miss the playoffs. Perhaps they are correct.

  41. we're taking the armoire on

    Gunna stop at Zaro’s in Grand Central on the way home and pick up some Ranger Turnovers

  42. One positive- don’t think there should be many questions left regarding Buch’s place in the lineup.

  43. Olga Folkyerself on

    NFL Thursday game… What is San Francisco wearing? They look like their Ninja Jammies.

  44. Grabner…. Not impressed. Vesey? Personally I think HE needs time in Hartford, not Buchnevich. Clendening….turnover waiting to happen. Our defense looks worse off this year than last. I really wouldn’t be shocked if we miss the playoffs…

  45. A friend of mine must have really cherished his EpiPen, because he gave it to me right before he died.

  46. Seems kind of soon to put Del Zotto’s old number back in the rotation, no?

    But seriously, don’t think any of Girardi, Clendening, Brady or even Holden have been any better than Dylan

  47. Surely some here will disagree, but I take it as an insult that Philly dressed Gouda tonight in our building.

  48. Well at least I don’t have to be subjected to this porous team defense (including goaltender, ahem) for another week.

    Just click the heels of your skates together and repeat after me, “it’s just pre-season, it’s just pre-season, it’s just pre-season”.

  49. WE’RE TAKING THE ARMOIRE: That’s what I was thinking throughout the 3rd period, but the problems go much deeper … I think there are systemic issues as well.

  50. AV: “The youngsters are all getting their toes wet in the pool. It’s a Pro-cess.: Translation: “It’s a cesspool of Pro’s.”

  51. we're taking the armoire on

    It’s gunna be a long winter the only thing that can save us is ….Nash’s Intangibles

  52. Anyone who grabbed a couple of points during the pre-season, played a solid D and threw his body around a little bit makes this team. Didn’t really see anyone even on that level.

  53. Nieves looked fantastic he is ready to play in NHL. Lundqvist looked like crap. Buchnevich finally impressed me a little bit. Why is Gerbe still here are they blind? Can we trade Hayes already? 10% on faceoffs, good job.

  54. Simmons’ hit was clean except for the late, evil shove. Still, a hit like that late in a thoroughly lost game is a insult and should have been confronted,

  55. we're taking the armoire on

    I’m locked in a confessional booth at St Francis if Assissi…I’m forced to go thru these trades and what if’s as penance….

  56. we're taking the armoire on

    When I was yelling “Hit em with yer purse Harry” at #3 Howell..I never had the benefit of a social network…this is much more supportive

  57. Boo looked good imho (one game sample)…that being said, he’d be my 4th line centre to start the season.

    Still not impressed with Brady. I’d be curious to see if the rangers make a trade between now and the first part of next week.

  58. Hitler supporters and Obama haters. Wow, Carp, maybe a little censoring some of these newbies here is in order?

Leave A Reply