Saturday, September 14, 2013
Miller out with hamstring injury
By Katie Strang
Rangers prospect J.T. Miller did not skate Saturday because of a hamstring injury that has been hampering him since the start of training camp.
The 20-year-old Miller, who played 26 games with the Rangers last season, “tweaked” his hamstring during conditioning laps on Thursday and left the ice early again on Friday.
He is expected to miss Sunday’s scrimmage as well as both of the Rangers’ first two exhibition games, Monday vs. the Devils and Tuesday vs. the Flyers, next week.
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In his first full training camp of his professional career, Chris Kreider looked sharp in Saturday’s on-ice session.
The 22-year-old, who had a tremendous start to his NHL career during the 2012 playoffs, struggled to carve out a consistent spot on the team’s roster last season.
Kreider, who played with the AHL’s Connecticut Whale during the lockout, was sent back to the Rangers’ farm team multiple times after struggling to maintain consistency while up with the big club.
Kreider said he’s motivated to make an impact this season.
“I feel pretty good, but I need to keep on building, getting better every single day.”
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault took notice of the former Boston College standout even before he arrived in New York, referencing a YouTube video of Kreider performing a freak feat of power while jumping out of a swimming pool.
Kreider said the video was made when he and a buddy were messing around a few years ago, but clearly his athleticism is no joke.
The Boxford, Mass. native is known for his lower-body strength and speed, and both were on display as he drove the net hard during drills in Saturday’s first session.
Kreider said the team hasn’t done much system work with Vigneault yet, but he’s already identified areas of his game that he wants to improve.
“Keep working on my lateral skating, net-front play, puck protection,” Kreider said. “I could go on and on; I’ve got a lot of things to work on, but those in particular.”
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Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi has returned to wearing a visor.
The 27-year-old wore one earlier in his career but shed the protective shield after his first season in New York. Now, after seeing the harrowing ordeal that sidelined defensive partner Marc Staal for half of last season, Girardi has changed his mind.
Girardi said he has been wearing it for the past five weeks.
“Obviously, seeing what Marc went through last year was kind of tough, so I thought it was smart to put one on,” Girardi said.
Having Staal back and healthy should be a huge boost to the Rangers defensive corps. The cornerstone defenseman missed 21 games last year after he was hit in the face with a puck in March.
“He’s a big-minute guy,’ Girardi said. “He eats a lot of minutes, he’s a very dynamic guy out there. He’s a good skater, great defensive player and we missed him a lot last year so we’re really glad to have him back."