Asham Still Out as Team Returns to Practice

After taking the day off yesterday, the Rangers reconvened for practice today with Arron Asham (back spasms) as the only player who did not participate.

According to Andrew Gross at the Bergen Record,  the lines remained the same…

Carl Hagelin-Brad Richards-Rick Nash
Taylor Pyatt-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan
J.T. Miller-Brian Boyle-Marian Gaborik
Darroll Powe-Jeff Halpern-Stu Bickel

…while you never like to see your 40-goal scorer on the third line, I love the balance throughout the line-up. There's really not a line that I hate. Torts has done a good job here.

…man that Asham signing is looking worse and worse by the day. If Bickel has another solid game tomorrow, Asham might not have a spot waiting for him when he's healthy.

After practice Tortorella discussed the importance of Nash's return with Gross…

“I think Nash helped us all. He made an effect on the game right away and right on through it. I think a little bit is with Brad (Richards), he’s just trying to get out of his own way and just allow himself to play. It was one of the better games I’ve seen him play this year, you could see his skating, he made a lot of plays with the puck. He had confidence to turn up in the end zone and look for late people. I know him pretty well, he’s going to be a really good player for us and that was probably his best game of the year."

…it's amazing how much more prolific the Rangers offense looks with Nash in the line-up. He requires so much attention from opponents that it takes a ton of pressure off his linemates. The Rangers went from looking like the worst offensive team in NHL history in Montreal and Ottawa to an offensive juggernaut against Tampa.

…we can only hope Thursday's game will be a catalyst to turn around Richards' season. If this team has any Stanley Cup aspirations he has to be better.

J.T. Miller, who Tortorella again praised today, talked about his first couple weeks in the NHL…

"I don't want to be satisfied with myself ever in the league. In my time here, I'm just trying to get better every shift. I don't want to be comfortable and just say I'm here and settle in. If I'm going to be on the ice I want to be the best I can be and try to make a difference. My mindset is to never be satified. A couple of games I was sitting back a bit and I wasn't creating much up front. The last few games I wanted to make sure I was shooting the puck more, making hits and playing on the forecheck with my linemates."

Miller also admitted that he is shooting the puck more on advice from linemate Brian Boyle.

…i know most of what he's saying are clichés, but I still love that he's so driven to succeed. The kid brings his lunch pail to work every day and just gets after it. If he can continue to do that he is going to have a very long and successful Rangers career.

…i'm also a fan of his line. He's playing with a big center in Boyle who's been a wrecking ball out there lately as well as a sniper in Gaborik, which should open up a lot of ice for the youngster to make plays.

Here's his entire interview…

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