Rangers break-up day notebook

May, 28, 2012
5/28/12
7:22
PM ET
With two days off to recover from the sting of a Game 6, series-ending 3-2 overtime loss to the Devils in the Eastern Conference on Friday, the Rangers cleared out their lockers Monday before heading home for the summer. Below is an assortment of odds and ends from the day.

-- Alternate captain Brad Richards said he thinks he'll be a better player for what he experienced in his first season in New York after signing a nine-year, $60 million deal. The 32-year-old center admitted it took some time to acclimate after spending his career in small-market cities like Tampa and Dallas, but sounded encouraged by how the season went.

"I had a lot of fun. Definitely a new experience playing in this city. Being a Ranger was everything I thought it would be, playing in Madison Square Garden, so I enjoyed a lot of it," he said. "Mentally, it was a little bit different than most years, so I definitely gained some good experience and am probably better for it now. I had a lot of fun and had the chance to win again, got that taste back."

-- Henrik Lundqvist said he'll take a few weeks away from hockey before he reflects back on the season and re-focuses his efforts toward next season. The 30-year-old netminder, up for both the Vezina and Hart Trophy awards, said the season was full of good things but still felt disappointing because of the squandered opportunity.

"Just to get a taste of it, it's exciting, but at the same time, we didn't reach our ultimate goal," said Lundqvist, who gave up 10 goals over the last three games against New Jersey. "We didn't get to where we wanted to."

-- Rangers tough guy Brandon Prust, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1, said he would "love to be back." The 28-year-old winger conceded that "money is a factor, but not the biggest factor," and said he'd prefer a "good situation."

Said Tortorella: "We value him. He's a huge part of our team. I love the guy."

Prust said he will get some work done on his left hand this offseason after playing through a torn tendon in his ring finger for several months. He sustained the injury in a fight with Ottawa's Zenon Konopka on January 12.

-- Brian Boyle admitted he thought the remainder of his playoff performance "would've been different" if not for the concussion he sustained on a hit from Ottawa's Chris Neil during the quarterfinals.

The nine-day absence made it difficult to catch up to the strong play he established to start the series -- three goals in the first three games -- and felt like "trying to jump onto a speeding train."

The layoff was to blame, however, not any lingering effects from the concussion: "It's completely fine," he said of his head. "I wouldn't have played if it wasn't."

-- Asked if he had any lingering ailments to take care of now that season is over, third-year defenseman Michael Del Zotto said: "Just a broken heart."

-- Veteran forward Mike Rupp said he was proud to witness a winning culture cultivated with a team that learned to expect the most and avoid excuses:

"We had a lot of excuses available to us to grab onto and we didn't do it," he said.

Rupp expects that high standard to continue next year.

"It's not about surprising people anymore. We're going to get everyone's best next year. We have to be better."

-- Brandon Dubinsky shut the door on a disappointing season sounding hopeful for next season. The 26-year-old forward was limited for much of the playoffs with a high ankle sprain and struggled to produce throughout the regular season. Dubinsky finished with 10 goals and 24 assists in 77 regular-season games, compared to his team-leading 54 points from 2010-11.

"Obviously this wasn't the season I hoped for, but the good news is I think this organization still believes in me."

-- Rookie Chris Kreider said he was "very happy" with his decision to come out of college and turn pro after leading his Boston College Eagles to a national championship in April.

The 21-year-old winger said he will complete the remaining courses necessary to obtain his degree at BC over the summer while also working on improving his game for next season.

-- After a "tough" summer last year battling the residual effects of a concussion that sidelined him for the first half of this season, defenseman Marc Staal said he is looking forward to a different break this offseason.

"It's gonna be kind of nice to hit the re-set button for a normal summer training and getting geared up for a long season."

Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Follow Katie on Twitter »  Chat archive »

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?