Armed with a brand new toy (aka Jesper Fast), Alain Vigneault tinkered with the forward lines at practice this morning…
AV said he has yet to decided if this will be his lineup tomorrow night against the Hurricanes.
…there’s no trio going better on the Rangers than the Brassard line, which is why this might seem a bit unorthodox, but maybe AV should break them up to jump start the remainder of the line-up.
…how about putting a playmaker like Zuccarello with Nash and Stepan and then get St. Louis paired with Brassard’s deft passing and Pouliot’s ability to go to the net? I know the third line would still have a major hole in the middle of it, but last time I checked the Rangers can’t buyout Richards in the middle of the season, so we’re kind of stuck.
Meanwhile, Vigneault reports that Ryan McDonagh (shoulder), who was not on the ice today, is “coming along.”
In other injury news, Chris Kreider (broken hand) worked out off the ice today.
…the Rangers have really missed Kreider’s speed and willingness to drive to the crease. Hoping that Fast can fill a little bit of that void.
…Fast is also very responsible in both ends, which should come in handy playing on a line with the defensively deficient Richards.
Here’s Fast on what he learned from his brief NHL stint earlier this season (via Blueshirts United)…
“I’m more ready mentally, I think. One thing I learned is that up here everyone is a great player, so if you make one small mistake you will be in trouble.”
Vigneault discussed Fast’s game after practice…
“We thought we’d bring him up and take a look at him. I like his hockey sense, his speed, his sense, his willingness to play at both ends of the rink. Unfortunately when we sent him back he had that high ankle sprain which takes a while for you to find your rhythm again, but for the past month I’ve been told over and over again he’s playing really, really well.”