Practice Notes: Kreider Back, Asham Out & Bickel at Forward

Katie Strang at ESPN NY says Rangers fans can breath easy as Chris Kreider returned to practice today after suffering a jaw injury from the hit he absorbed from Brooks Orpik in the closing minute of Sunday's 6-3 loss to the Penguins.

Strang adds that Kreider suffered a spasm to his TMJ joint after the hit.

In other news from practice, Arron Asham did not participate due to a mild groin strain. His availability for tomorrow night against the Bruins is not known.

Because of the Asham injury, Bickel was bumped up to forward, while Matt Gilroy and Steve Eminger shared 6th defensive spot duties.

Here are other line changes (via Bergen Record)…

Marian Gaborik-Brad Richards-Rick Nash
Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan
Carl Hagelin-Brian Boyle-Taylor Pyatt
Mike Rupp-Jeff Halpern-Stu Bickel

…got to love the "Stars & Stripes" line back together.

…also didn't take very long for Torts to put the "Big 3" together. Not that we didn't expect that to happen.

Another interesting development from practice was the talk from John Tortorella and players about the team not playing hard enough…

Tortorella (via Bergen Record)…

“It’s everything about playing the game hard and we have not played the game hard enough in all areas. When you talk about hard, people talking about fighting. It’s taking a check to protect the puck, it’s not one and done offensively, holding onto the puck. Our team knows what it is, it simply hasn’t brought it here this year. It’ll mount on you pretty quickly if you don’t get it changed around so hopefully we’ll get it changed around."

Brad Richards (via ESPN NY)…

"We definitely have to have more bite than we did in the first two games."

Marc Staal…

"The corner battles, the good stick play, the things that were lights-out for us last year, we've got to get back to that."

…everything these guys are saying I blogged about this morning, so no need to rehash it.

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Kevin

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