Friday, January 25, 2013
Kreider in lineup, Newbury to AHL
By Matt Ehalt
It appears Rangers forward Chris Kreider will be back in the lineup Saturday against Toronto. The Rangers announced Friday that they have assigned Kris Newbury back to the Connecticut Whale (AHL).
Newbury, 30, was called up before Thursday's loss to Philadelphia as Kreider was a healthy scratch, and forward Arron Asham missed his second straight game with a mild groin strain. Newbury played five minutes and had one hit in the 2-1 loss. He's bounced back and forth between New York and Connecticut over the past two seasons, having played nineteen games with the Rangers since the start of the 2010-11 season. He also played for Toronto and Detroit.
Kreider, who galvanized the Rangers offensively in the playoffs last year, has landed in head coach John Tortorella's doghouse to start the year. In the first three games he failed to register a point in any contest, while playing minus-2 hockey. Tortorella didn't rule out sending Kreider to the AHL.
"Sure. And that shouldn't be a shock," Tortorella said earlier this week. "I've seen players ruined because you put them in a situation and they just struggle and they don't succeed and they never come out of it, they're done, they're out of the game. I do not want to see that happen to him. He has too many assets, but he has not played well. And he knows that, so we'll see where we go."
The 21-year-old isn't the only Ranger who hasn't produced on offense, but his inexperience works against him. He didn't play any regular season games for the Rangers last year before exploding in the playoffs for seven points (five goals, two assists) in 18 games.
This season, that magic just hasn't been there for Kreider. In Wednesday's overtime win over Boston, Kreider was demoted from the second line to the fourth line, and then was scratched a day later.
"He's not the only one that has struggled through a couple of these games, but tonight it was a battle for him, his understanding of the positioning of the defense we play," Tortorella said Wednesday."It's a lot to ask of him, especially when the team is 0-2 when they're starting the season."
Kreider took his removal from the lineup in stride.
"There's so many good players in this league," Kreider told Newsday. "It forces me to do things I'm not used to [defensively] ... I'm starting to pick it up [the system].
"I don't think the spotlight has anything to do with it. It's just the level of play and the speed. It makes for completely different reads and reaction time."