Brassard Returns; AV Not Sure on McIlrath

The Rangers report that Derick Brassard, who missed Thursday night's game as well as Fridays practice with a bum…errrr…bum, returned to practice today and will play tomorrow vs. Calgary. Here's Brassard…

"You know it sounds a little funny when you say I have a bum injury, but I want to go back in tomorrow and help the team get two points," Brassard told reporters following Saturday's practice. "When you skate you push with your butt, and I had an injury there, the first time it had happened to me, and it's not fun. It was really frustrating because when you say you're out with a bum injury it sounds like you can play through it, but I couldn't even skate."

Here were the forward lines during practice…

Kreider-Stepan-Nash
Richards-Brassard-Zuccarello
Hagelin-Boyle-Asham/Pyatt
Pouliot-Moore-Dorsett

…despite scoring just once in the last 11 games, it should help to have Brassard back, if for no other reason than to get either Pyatt or Pouliot out of the lineup.

…when playing with confidence, Brassard is a completely different player. Wouldn't mind seeing him get an extended look with Nash. They had some nice moments together in the second period against Nashville the other night.

…btw, how awful is the Rangers bottom six? I'm pretty sure Hagelin is the only one who could actually play for another NHL team.

Alain Vigneault also made changes with defensive pairings as well…

McDonagh-Stralman
Del Zotto-Girardi
Moore-McIlrath/Falk

Vigneault indicated that he's not sure if he'll come back with McIrath or replace him with Falk tomorrow vs. the Flames.

…is AV kidding me?!?!?!?! I know that McIlrath didn't exactly tear it up in his debut, but way to give the kid some confidence. Seriously, what is there to think about? He should be given at least a few games to get his feet wet before anyone starts thinking about making him a healthy scratch. Guys like Del Zotto and Girardi have been given leashes this season, why isn't McIlrath? The kid was brought up to hopefully provide a spark, which is obviously hard for him to do while eating a hot dog in the press box. Baffling.

…however, i do like the move to get Stralman and McDonagh together as they have easily been the Rangers best two defensemen this season. And talk about punishment for Girardi's poor play. Now he gets to play with Del Zotto. Yikes. Although, Girardi's mistakes won't look nearly as bad anymore.

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Kevin

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