Henrik Lundqvist, who will miss his second straight game tonight, told the media today that his undisclosed injury is progressing slowly (via Daily News)…
“It’s a little better. It’s moving slowly in the right direction. Today was the first real practice I had in a week, so we’ll see how I respond … It’s tough to be patient. I’m not gonna hide it. I definitely want to play Monday. I want to be there and play in front of our fans. So that’s our goal, but at the same time you have to be smart about it. It’s a long season, but we’ll see how I react to this. This was a good skate.”
…never like hearing "a little better" and "slowly" when it comes to a Lundqvist injury. I'm starting to worry that he's not going to be ready for Monday's home opener.
In some more potentially bad injury news, Andrew Gross at the Bergen Record notes that when asked about the status of Rick Nash (concussion), Alain Vigneault said he hasn’t even inquired about his super star winger in “four or five days.”
…oof, that's not good news.
…the Rangers better start thinking about Plan B because it doesn't sound like Nash will be back in the line-up anytime soon. And that Plan B better not be Vinny Prospal.
There was also some personnel news at this morning's practice as Mats Zuccarello will be back in the line-up at the expense of Brandon Mashinter.
…WTF?!?!?!?!?!? FIRE AV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here are the lines for tonight…
Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Brad Richards
Benoit Pouliot-Derick Brassard-J.T. Miller
Taylor Pyatt-Brian Boyle-Derek Dorsett
Mats Zuccarello-Dominic Moore-Jesper Fast
…i'm not just saying this because of my man crush on Mashinter, but there's no way he should be the one coming out of the line-up. He's a perfect fit for the fourth line. I mean how much better would the bottom six look if a certain forward with mesmerizing blue eyes was sent to the press box instead…
…i'd feel a lot more confident going into the game with that bottom six than what I'm currently looking at.
Vigneault also addressed the struggling center position for the Rangers which had contributed ZERO goals this season…
“We need our centermen to help us out here a little bit,” Vigneault said. “They’re a big part of defensive hockey and offensive hockey, and we’ve got quite a few on that end right now that are underperforming.
“Tonight I’m hoping that Step and Brass, especially those two – they’re supposed to be our offensive players, our offensive skill. They need to start showing some of that.”
…it will be impossible for the Rangers to get out of their current offensive funk without Stepan and Brassard starting to contribute. It's that simple.