Anton Stralman was absent from practice this morning as he was given a maintenance day after getting nicked up from blocking a shot during yesterday's 1-0 loss to the Sharks.
Raphael Diaz took his place alongside Marc Staal.
…wouldn't be a bad time for the Rangers to give Stralman a night off after struggling mightily since the Olympic break. I thought he was better yesterday especially on offense where he was looking to shoot, but his pairing with Staal has been a weakness and some new blood in the lineup could give the team a lift.
…plus the Rangers could use the injury as an excuse to save face for Stralman.
Alain Vigneault noted after practice that he hasn't made a decision on the line-up yet.
Meanwhile, Ryan Haggerty also joined the Rangers at practice for the first time since signing a contract with the team last week.
Alain Vigneault told Andrew Gross at the Bergen Record that there's no immediate plan/expectations for Haggerty other than getting him skating with the team and see what they have.
Vigneault also admitted that playing in the AHL would have been beneficial to Haggerty but there's also positives to him working with Rangers' staff.
As TheNYRBlog's Adam Herman pointed out when the Rangers first signed Haggerty, the reason they couldn't immediately send him to the Wolfpack was because they signed him after the trade deadline. Katie Strang at ESPN.com adds that Haggerty is on a two-way contract meaning he can be sent to Hartford next season.
…financially, you never like to burn a year of an entry-level contract, especially when the player isn't likely to make an impact on the team. However, if the Rangers really coveted Haggerty, I'll give Sather and Gordie credit for being aggressive in signing him.
Here's Haggerty after practice…
Finally, Martin St. Louis faced the music after practice noting that he needs to be better (via Bergen Record)…
"Am I playing great? No. But I've played way worse than now…No time to feel sorry…Be a big boy and go to work everyday."
…you mean it could get worse?!?!?!
…if nothing else I give St. Louis credit for standing in there and answering every question, but he's got to start finding the back of the net before he becomes the latest super star to lose their scoring touch as soon as they don a Blueshirt.