First Rangers postseason practice and we’re already getting some bad news as Derrick Brassard had to leave practice early with a back injury.
After practice, Alain Vigneault said he expects him to be ready for Game 1 on Thursday night.
In Brassard’s absence, the recently recalled JT Miller took his place on the second power play.
…while this doesn’t sound alarming initially, it would be a huge blow if Brassard has to miss significant time in this series. Not only because he centers the Rangers most effective line, but he was also the Rangers best playoff performer offensively last year.
…not sure what AV’s thinking would be, but if Brassard is forced to miss time, I’d love to see Miller fill-in. If you remember, it was Miller, not Brassard, who initially centered Pouliot and Zuccarello when the duo began to resurrect their seasons back in December.
Fortunately for the Rangers, the Flyers also received some bad news on the injury front as Steve Mason, who was knocked out of the Flyers season finale against the Penguins on Saturday with a likely concussion, wasn’t able to finish this morning’s practice.
After practice, Flyers head coach Craig Berube wouldn’t offer whether Mason would be ready for Game 1 (Sportsnet)….
“I thought he looked decent. He came out there for a little bit in practice and got some work in, and I thought he looked pretty good.”
GM Paul Holmgren added…
“I thought he looked OK. We’ve just got to take it a day at a time here. We’ll know more tomorrow. I couldn’t tell you.”
Through a text message Mason sent to the team he said this about his status…
“I feel better each day and we’ll see how I feel tomorrow.”
…Mason has had a renaissance of sorts this season as he’s been a huge reason for turning around the Flyers early season struggles, so this would be a huge blow.
…if he can’t go, Emery will get the call. And while the 31-year old netminder’s skills have diminished, he’s previously back-stopped a team to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Back at Rangers practice, here’s what the lines looked like…
Pouliot-Brassard (before injury)-Zuccarello
On defense, Ryan McDonagh was back on Dan Girardi’s left side, while Raphael Diaz skated on the four defensive pair with Justin Falk.
…whelp, it looks like we’ve got out answer on who’s going to sit. And I don’t think anyone is very surprised. Having said that, if one of the bubble guys like Moore, Klein or Stralman slip-up, I don’t think AV will have any hesitation pulling them from the line-up for Diaz.
Also after practice, this happened…
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) April 15, 2014