New York Hockey: Carl Hagelin

W2W4: Islanders vs. Rangers

October, 29, 2013
10/29/13
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At a glance: Tuesday marks newly acquired Thomas Vanek's first game as a New York Islander and the two-time 40-goal scorer will be thrown right into the fire with a rivalry clash against the New York Rangers. The Rangers head to Nassau Coliseum having been blanked by the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night -- the third shutout loss of the season for the Rangers. Neither the Islanders nor the Rangers have enjoyed the start they expected. GM Garth Snow made a splash Sunday night, shipping core member Matt Moulson and two picks to Buffalo in exchange for Vanek as an attempt to shake things up for his middling club. The Rangers' return home to Madison Square Garden on Monday did not yield the results they hoped, either. The anemic loss dropped them to 3-7-0 on the season, which leaves them in 15th place in the Eastern Conference just one point ahead of the lowly Buffalo Sabres.

Vanek debut: Less than two days after being traded from Buffalo, Vanek will wear a different team's sweater for the first time in his NHL career. Isles fans are keen to see what sort of chemistry he can forge with superstar center John Tavares, who lost his longtime linemate in the Moulson deal. The success of the deal will likely hinge on whether Vanek, a pending unrestricted free agent, decides to re-sign with the Islanders, so the campaign to sell him on the merits of his new club begins Tuesday. The pressure's on for Vanek, too, considering that his counterpart in the trade was impressive in his Sabres debut. Moulson scored two goals in Buffalo's 4-3 loss to the Dallas Stars.

Help on the way: The Rangers are in dire need of some help considering their injury-plagued lineup and it appears they will get that Tuesday, when Carl Hagelin is eligible to come off the long-term injured list. Hagelin, who had surgery on his left shoulder this summer, adds offensive skill and a much-needed speed dimension to a Rangers squad struggling for offense. The Rangers are last in the league with a mere 1.50 goals per game.

A look at the numbers: Now that each team has 10 or more games under their belts, let's take a gander at some advanced stats that could be telling. According to HockeyAnalysis.com, the Rangers' middling Corsi percentage -- 49.0 percent -- and Fenwick percentage -- 48.6 percent -- suggests that they might not be as bad as their record implies. Their PDO, a stat designed to predict regression (and the opposite), also indicates they could be on the upswing. Meanwhile, the Islanders are in the bottom four teams for both Corsi and Fenwick rating, despite the fact that they have the better record at 4-4-3.

Talbot in net: Rangers backup goaltender Cam Talbot is slated to get the start Tuesday, according to the reports from Tuesday's morning skates. That means Rangers coach Alain Vigneault opted to give starter Henrik Lundqvist -- who returned Monday after missing two games with an unspecified injury -- the night off as opposed to using him in back-to-back nights.

Hagelin nearing return to Rangers

October, 29, 2013
10/29/13
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NEW YORK -- The Rangers are sending Jesper Fast down to the minors, a good indication that Carl Hagelin is ready to return from the long-term injured reserve.

Hagelin, who missed the first ten games of the season while rehabbing his surgically-repaired shoulder, is eligible to come off LTIR on Tuesday, when the Rangers face the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

Though Rangers coach Alain Vigneault didn't commit to Hagelin's return after Monday's 2-0 shutout loss to Montreal, he did admit that the young Swedish winger brings them a "speed dimension" that can help bolster an anemic Rangers offense.

Source: Hagelin cleared for contact

October, 16, 2013
10/16/13
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Carl Hagelin has been cleared for contact, a source confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com Wednesday night.

The news was first reported by the New York Post.

Hagelin is currently on long-term injured reserve as he battles back from shoulder surgery this offseason. Because he was placed on LTIR to start the season, he is not eligible to return until Oct. 29, when the Rangers take on the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

Hagelin's progress is good news for the Rangers, who have missed his speed and skill during what was a horrendous five-game road trip to start the season. The Blueshirts recovered with a well-rounded win over the Capitals on Wednesday to improve to 2-4-0.

The team will welcome Hagelin's return, especially considering they are without his fellow top-six forward, Rick Nash. Nash, who was placed on IR Monday, missed his third straight game since suffering a hit to the head last week.

Hagelin, 25, had 10 goals and 24 points in 48 games last season.

W2W4: Rangers at Capitals

October, 16, 2013
10/16/13
1:46
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At a glance: A reeling Rangers squad hopes to get back on track Wednesday night in D.C. when they face Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals for the first time since bouncing them from the first round of the playoffs last spring. The Rangers are sputtering after a 1-4-0 start to the season but hope that a return to the Eastern Time Zone can help matters. The Rangers spent their first five games out West, but play the next three close to home including stops in D.C., New Jersey and Philly.

Shaking things up: The Rangers tailspin already prompted some changes, as the team waived both backup goaltender Martin Biron and gritty winger Arron Asham on Monday. To replace the veterans, the Rangers recalled 26-year-old netminder Cam Talbot to back up Henrik Lundqvist and summoned talented prospect J.T. Miller as well. Head coach Alain Vigneault already put some of his top-six forwards on notice with Miller’s recall. Though the 20-year-old forward is slated to start on the fourth line, Vigneault said he could earn himself a promotion if other players don’t earn their ice time.

Key injuries: Already missing Carl Hagelin, who continues to rehab his surgically-repaired shoulder, the Rangers are now without one of their other most dynamic wingers. Rick Nash will miss his third straight game since sustaining a blow to the head last Tuesday from San Jose’s Brad Stuart. Nash, who was placed on injured reserve Monday, was “still feeling symptoms” earlier this week, according to Vigneault, and does not appear to be nearing a return any time soon. Defenseman Michael Del Zotto will also be unavailable Wednesday night because of the flu; physical blue-liner Justin Faulk will draw into the lineup to replace Del Zotto.

Potent power-play: Washington hasn’t fared much better than the Rangers to begin the season – they are 2-4-0 through the first six games – but at least they can continue to count on their power play. The Caps lead the league on the man-advantage with a 36.4 efficiency rate after going 8-for-22. Ovechkin leads the team with three power-play goals, but newcomer Mikhail Grabovski has proven to be a nice addition as well with a pair of his own.

Callahan cleared for contact

September, 27, 2013
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Lost in the shuffle of a very newsworthy day in Vancouver on Thursday -- Derek Stepan and the Rangers finally agreed on a two-year deal, ending a worrisome contract stalemate -- was another heartening development for the club.

Captain Ryan Callahan has been cleared for contact.

That's a significant step for the 28-year-old winger, the heart-and-soul leader of the team, toward making his return to the lineup after having shoulder surgery this summer.

Though the Rangers doused any hope he'll be in the lineup on opening night, Oct. 3 against the Phoenix Coyotes, Callahan himself said a few weeks back that he's not ruling it out. Remember also that the Rangers said Marc Staal would not play in the 2012 Winter Classic when he was eyeing a return from a severe concussion; he did.

Regardless, the benchmark is a significant one in that it means the Rangers will not be without one of their most important offensive catalysts for long, a relief considering Carl Hagelin is also rehabbing his shoulder from the exact same surgery and is not expected to play the first few weeks of the season.

Callahan had 16 goals and 31 points for the Rangers last season.

Hagelin, Rangers agree to two-year deal

July, 10, 2013
7/10/13
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NEW YORK -- The Rangers have locked up another of their important restricted free agents, agreeing to terms on a two-year contract with winger Carl Hagelin.

The deal is worth $4.5 million, multiple sources confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com, with Hagelin receiving $2.1 million in the first year and $2.4 million in the second.

Click here for the complete news story.

Lundqvist camp, Rangers to talk contract

June, 26, 2013
6/26/13
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Sunday's whirlwind draft, reduced to one day because of the lockout-shortened season, will be a busy day for the Rangers.

Though New York does not have a pick until the third round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, GM Glen Sather has plenty of other important business to attend to, including locking up franchise goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

Talks for a long-term extension for the former Vezina Trophy winner have not yet begun, though the two sides are expected to begin contract discussions this weekend.

"I will be speaking with Glen Sather at the Draft concerning an agenda for Henrik's status," Lundqvist's agent Don Meehan told ESPNNewYork.com via email on Wednesday.

Lundqvist cannot even officially ink an extension until July -- the 31-year-old netminder won't become an unrestricted free agent next summer -- though Lundqvist's camp, Newport Sports, and Sather can forge the parameters of an agreement beforehand.

The Rangers also have three other key restricted free agents to sign this summer in forwards Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin and defenseman Ryan McDonagh.

Reps for all three have confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com that discussions have commenced, though those talks have yet to progress beyond preliminary discussions.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Bruins 3 (OT)

May, 23, 2013
5/23/13
10:04
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What it means: The Rangers erased a 2-0 deficit and rallied to win the game in overtime, narrowly avoiding a series sweep and keeping their playoff hopes alive in Game 4 against the Bruins at Madison Square Garden. Rick Nash connected with Chris Kreider on the rush for the game winner as the Rangers edged the Bruins 4-3 to send the series to Boston for Game 5 on Saturday.

Big goal: The MSG crowd was rocking early in the third when Derek Stepan picked the pocket of Zdeno Chara behind the net to catch an unsuspecting Rask for a quick game-tying wraparound goal at 1:15. The Rangers then whittled a 3-2 Bruins lead at the 10-minute mark with Brian Boyle’s shot from the slot for a power-play goal. It was the Rangers' first power-play goal in 23 attempts.

Seguin snaps drought: Giving the Bruins a 3-2 lead that lasted less than two minutes, Tyler Seguin notched his first goal of the season, scoring on his own rebound at 8:06 of the third.

Rookie wonder: Following up on Nathan Horton’s power-play goal -- the result of a goaltender interference penalty on Rangers forward Kris Newbury -- Boston’s Torey Krug beat Henrik Lundqvist with a one-timer for a 2-0 Bruins lead at 7:41 of the second. The rookie defenseman, who made his NHL playoff debut in Game 1, has three goals in four games for the Bruins. Krug’s goal also came on the power play.

Take a seat: The Rangers cut Boston’s two-goal lead in half with an embarrassing gaffe by Rask. Facing a rush from Carl Hagelin, Rask tumbled backwards, untouched, as Hagelin’s backhanded attempt trickled past the goal line in the second. The Rangers generated momentum from the fluke play, following up Hagelin’s goal with a couple of huge shifts, but didn't tie it up until the final frame.

Surprising scratch: In a bold move before an elimination game, coach John Tortorella scratched struggling center Brad Richards. The 33-year-old veteran, also an alternate captain for the Rangers, was recently relegated to the fourth line with which he received just 8:10 of ice time in Game 3, only 5:58 of which was even strength. Rugged winger Arron Asham was also scratched, with depth forwards Newbury and Micheal Haley replacing the two veterans in the lineup.

Depleted D: The Rangers were without top-four defenseman Anton Stralman, who suffered an injury in Game 3 after taking a hard hit from Boston’s Milan Lucic late in the second period. Veteran Roman Hamrlik took Stralman’s place, making his first appearance in almost two months.

What's next: An all-or-nothing Saturday in Boston, faceoff at 5:30 p.m. ET.

Ryane Clowe back on ice

May, 22, 2013
5/22/13
12:22
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GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Injured forward Ryane Clowe returned to the ice for the first time since suffering an apparent head injury in Game 5 of the Rangers' first-round series against Washington.

Clowe was among the players skating during the Rangers' optional practice Wednesday, the morning after a Game 3 loss to Boston.

Clowe, acquired from the San Jose Sharks at the trade deadline, has appeared in only one postseason game for the Rangers. He missed five games after sustaining what is believed to have been a concussion against the Carolina Hurricanes during the last week of the regular season.

Clowe, one of the most coveted trade targets at the deadline, waived his no-trade clause to come to the Rangers because he felt "this team is built for this time of year," he said during the Washington series. Set to become a unrestricted free agent this summer, Clowe appeared to be the type of player the Rangers were interested in re-signing. That seems less likely now, with his string of injuries that have limited his time on the ice.

Carl Hagelin, who took a puck to the face in Game 3 on Tuesday, also practiced with the team as did Darroll Powe (undisclosed) and Marc Staal (eye).

Chris Kreider, who took a stick to the eye in Game 3, and defenseman Anton Stralman, who was also injured in the game after taking a monster hit from Milan Lucic, did not practice.

Notes: Stralman sidelined

May, 22, 2013
5/22/13
12:16
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The New York Rangers’ blue line, already without Marc Staal, lost another top-four defenseman Tuesday night when Anton Stralman was forced from the game in the second period.

[+] EnlargeAnton Stralman
Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesAn injury to Anton Stralman further weakens a Rangers' blue line that was already decimated.
Stralman, who plays on the team’s second defensive pairing with Michael Del Zotto, was forced from the game after a hard hit from Boston’s Milan Lucic late in the second period.

Stralman did not play in the third period, which forced Rangers coach John Tortorella to lean heavily on his top pair of Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi.

“He’s played so well,” Tortorella said of Stralman after the team’s 2-1 loss. “That’s a big blow to us, as far as our matches and the depth within our [defense].”

Assuming Stralman is unavailable for Game 4, either veteran Roman Hamrlik or Matt Gilroy will draw into the lineup. Neither player has made an appearance yet in the 2013 playoffs.

Limited role: Struggling center Brad Richards, recently relegated to the fourth line with his poor play, saw a paltry 8:10 of ice time, only 5:58 of which was at even strength.

Richards, who might be a prime candidate for a buyout this summer, was limited to a mere three shifts in the second period and two in the third.

The 32-year-old veteran, who inked a nine-year, $60 million deal in July of 2011, has been held to one point this postseason.

World of hurt: Stralman wasn’t the only one to get banged up during Game 3.

Carl Hagelin left the game after taking a puck to the face in the third, though he returned later in the period. Chris Kreider also required medical attention when he went down to the ice, writhing in pain, after getting a stick to the eye. Kreider also remained in the game.

Power outage: The Rangers' ineptitude on the power play continued with another futile effort Tuesday night.

After failing on both man-up opportunities in Game 3, the Rangers are now 2-for-38 -- a dreadful 5.3 percent -- in the playoffs and 0-for-10 this series.

By contrast, the Bruins have had only one power play over the past two games.

Rangers now have the momentum

May, 9, 2013
5/09/13
12:29
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All of a sudden, it seems this series has taken a turn.

It didn’t happen right away for the Rangers, who were outplayed in the first two games of their first-round matchup against the Capitals. But, since falling behind 2-0 after a disheartening trip to D.C., the Rangers have steadily regained traction in this best-of-seven set.

With a 4-3 win over the Caps at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, the Rangers evened the series, 2-2, and tilted momentum in their favor heading into Game 5.

[+] EnlargeRyane Clowe
AP Photo/Kathy WillensThe Rangers beat the Caps to tie the series at two games apiece.
“So far, we’re just taking care of business at home. That’s what we need to do.” said Henrik Lundqvist, who finished with 27 saves. “Coming back home, being down two games, we had a lot of pressure, but we stepped up there. So far we just tied the series. We still need to do whatever we can to get the next one.”

Carl Hagelin led the team with a goal and two assists, Derick Brassard chipped in with another masterful multi-point performance, and the Rangers held Alex Ovechkin off the score sheet for the second straight game.

It was the best complete effort this series for the Rangers, who asserted themselves on the forecheck, defended well in their own zone, and didn’t surrender the special-teams battle.

“They were working harder. They were coming harder,” Caps defenseman Karl Alzner said. “They made some adjustments so we’ll have to adjust now.”

With the Capitals trailing the Rangers by two goals in the third period, Alzner’s shot that deflected off Mathieu Perreault at 7:31 pulled the Capitals within one, 4-3, but the Rangers refused to let another two-goal lead dissolve.

After building a 2-0 advantage earlier in the game on goals from Hagelin and Brad Richards, the Rangers let the Capitals climb right back into it during the middle frame. In fact, it was Washington that sapped the life out of Madison Square Garden with Troy Brouwer’s backhander that beat Lundqvist and knotted the score at 2 with 17.1 seconds to play.

Caps veteran Jason Chimera essentially nullified that surge, however, with an interference penalty as the second period expired, giving the Rangers a power play to start the third.

Brassard made a deft backhanded dish to find defenseman Dan Girardi all alone at the left point for a slap shot that beat Braden Holtby 59 seconds in and re-ignited a restless home crowd.

Brassard made a brilliant cross-ice feed to set up Hagelin’s goal earlier in the game.

“It’s incredible,” defenseman Ryan McDonagh said of Brassard’s game. “His playmaking ability is so crucial.”

After an underwhelming start to the series, Brassard has been impressive in the past two games, during which he has registered one goal and five points.

“The first two games, I was a little bit nervous, but when I’m in my game, I make plays,” said Brassard, who was awarded the team’s MVP Broadway Hat. “I just wanna take that game [into] Washington.”

The No. 6 seed Rangers now face a best-of-three against the No. 3 seed Capitals, who have home-ice advantage with both Games 5 and 7 (if necessary) at the Verizon Center.

After giving up the first pair of games in hostile territory, the Rangers know they are in line for a tough test.

“I think our resiliency has really shown in these last two games and we’re going to need that when we go to Washington, because they’ll surge there,” coach John Tortorella said. “We’ve just got to find a way to keep our head above water and try to win a game.”

Wednesday’s win wasn’t without its bumps, but the Rangers managed the swings and surges better than they have all series. To best the offensively loaded Capitals, especially on the road, the Rangers need to stick to that blueprint.

“We felt our first two games weren’t consistent enough,” McDonagh said. “If there’s something we can take out of our success these past two games, it’s more of the same.”

The Capitals will be ready.

“It’s a three-game series now,” said Holtby, who finished the night with 30 saves. “We still have home-ice advantage, Like I said before, we knew it was going to be a tough series. We learned last year that this team that we are playing doesn’t give up and we don’t either. Coming in, we didn’t care how many games it took to win as long as we won four out of seven.”

Rapid Reaction: Caps 3, Rangers 1

May, 2, 2013
5/02/13
10:22
PM ET


WASHINGTON -- What it means: The Capitals erased a 1-0 first-period deficit with three unanswered goals to take Game 1 of their first-round series with a 3-1 win against the Rangers at Verizon Center in D.C. Harnessing the momentum in their own building, the Caps took control of the game with a second-period surge that started with Alex Ovechkin's game-tying goal, continued with a failed Rangers' 5-on-3 power-play, and was capped by a pair of markers within a span of 46 seconds. Capitals netminder Braden Holtby was impressive in making 35 saves to give the Caps a 1-0 series edge Thursday night.

All tied up: With his first goal of the playoffs, Ovechkin knotted the game at 1 in the second period with a man-up goal for the Caps’ top-ranked power-play unit. Ovechkin crashed the net to bury Mike Green’s point shot, which banked off the boards wide, at 6:59 to spark the Capitals second-period surge.

Goal? Again? The sea of red at Verizon Center was rocking after the Capitals killed off a critical, 56-second 5-on-3 power-play for the Rangers that resulted from a heated skirmish in front of Washington’s net. The Caps killed off the remaining 5-on-4 as well and carried that momentum to pad their lead in the middle frame with two goals in a span of 46 seconds. Caps defenseman Steven Oleksy made a beautiful tape-to-tape pass to find Marcus Johansson behind the Rangers defense for a seamless breakaway goal at 14:21 and veteran Jason Chimera extended the lead less than a minute later. Chimera, who has been an absolute nightmare for the Rangers in previous playoff series, threw the puck on net for a 3-1 lead with 4:53 remaining.

Tough break: Though it appeared the Rangers might have pulled within a goal late in the third, a lengthy video review on defenseman John Moore's attempt upheld the initial ruling on the ice: no goal. Moore's shot was snagged by Holtby behind his back, and though it appeared Holtby's blocker was in the net, the video evidence was not enough to overturn the call.

Mis-lead: Dominated for most of the first period, the Rangers escaped with a 1-0 lead on Carl Hagelin’s wraparound goal with 3:16 remaining – a shot that banked in off Capitals defenseman John Erskine’s skate. Meanwhile the Capitals controlled possession for much of the frame, with Lundqvist the sole reason the Rangers avoided an early hole. Lundqvist made 9 saves before the Rangers registered their first shot on goal 8:07 into play.

Close call: Ovechkin had a prime opportunity to tie the game late in the first period when a breakaway left him all alone against Lundqvist, but the three-time Rocket Richard trophy winner couldn’t squeeze the puck inside the right post and hit iron instead with less than a minute remaining.

Up next: Game 2, Saturday in D.C. at 12 p.m.

Moving Gaborik: Worth it?

April, 3, 2013
4/03/13
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I imagine there will be a significant faction of fans upset to see the Rangers ship three-time 40-goal scorer Marian Gaborik out of town, but let me tell you why that is shortsighted.

While the Rangers addressed some immediate needs -- depth down the middle and on defense, plus some extra grit -- the most critical element of this deal may not be fully appreciated until the summer.

With the salary cap dropping dramatically next season from $70.2 million to $64.3 million, the Rangers needed to shed salary. And moving Gaborik and his $7.5 million cap hit to the Columbus Blue Jackets provides the team with some much-needed flexibility.

Gaborik has one year left on a five-year, $37.5 million deal, and cutting ties with him allows the Rangers some maneuverability this offseason. That’s crucial, considering they'd like to lock up some of their promising young players like Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin and Ryan McDonagh to longer deals this summer. All three players are restricted free agents.

Should the Rangers wish to re-sign recently acquired Ryane Clowe, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent, they could probably do that now, as well.

The deal also eliminates a potential buyout candidate in Gaborik; the Rangers could exercise their second allotted compliance buyout on Brad Richards, if they so choose. New York already used an accelerated compliance buyout on Wade Redden.

It’s actually a good deal for both teams, the Rangers and the Blue Jackets.

New Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen admitted that the team’s biggest need was goal scoring, and Gaborik is still capable of that. Granted, he has been streaky in years past and has been slumping for the majority of this season, but he is still coming off a 41-goal season.

A change of scenery and a new coach might be a good thing for Gaborik. And should he find a good fit with Columbus -- an organization that appears to be turning the corner on the downtrodden times of the Scott Howson era -- then they might be interested in signing him to a contract extension this summer, which Kekalainen told reporters he intends to do.

Now, let’s talk about how this deal helps the Rangers now.

The Rangers are hurting for offense. That’s no secret. They are last in the league with a meager 2.26 goals per game heading into Wednesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. And no matter how snake-bitten Clowe has been, there is no one Rick Nash-like player in that group who can provide that sort of lift.

So, if you are a Rangers fan disappointed in that regard, fair enough. But again, you have to think about it in terms of what this allows the Rangers to do in the summer.

I think the deals made in the past two days address the identity issue with the Rangers, more than anything.

Derek Dorsett and Clowe add some much-needed grit -- an element that was sacrificed in the loss of Brandon Prust, Mike Rupp and even Ruslan Fedotenko. They add some depth down the middle with Derick Brassard, vital considering their dire need at the center position. And they bolster their blue line with John Moore, an area weakened by the loss of Marc Staal.

Could this make the Rangers a much tougher team to play against in the playoffs? Yes, most definitely.

Do any of the moves add up to the Stanley Cup? Probably not.

This is not the season for the Rangers, though they still have a very strong young core and solid organizational depth. And, with this deal, that is precisely what they are trying to protect.

Nash still not practicing

February, 20, 2013
2/20/13
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GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Rangers winger Rick Nash is not on the ice for the team's practice Wednesday at the MSG training center in Westchester.

The 28-year-old forward, acquired by the Rangers in a blockbuster trade this summer, sat out Tuesday night's game with an undisclosed injury. Coach John Tortorella has repeatedly declined to provide further detail about what is ailing Nash or the severity of the injury, although it is believed to be related to a nasty hit Nash took last Tuesday in Boston.

Nash's head rattled against the glass after he was rammed into the boards by Boston's Milan Lucic, who incurred no penalty on the play.

Although Nash played in Sunday's match against the Capitals, his status was questionable throughout last weekend. Nash missed a season-ticketholder event on Friday due to "illness" and did not practice the following day for what the team termed as a "maintenance day."

Without Nash on the team's top line, Derek Stepan is centering Carl Hagelin and Marian Gaborik.

W2W4: Rangers vs. Canadiens

February, 19, 2013
2/19/13
1:49
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At a glance: Coming off a win against the Capitals on Sunday night, the Rangers close out a three-game homestand as they host the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. After a middling start to the season, the Blueshirts are 4-0-1 in the past five games -- but they face a tough test against the Habs. Montreal (10-4-1) is on a four-game winning streak and enters Tuesday's game ranked second in the Eastern Conference.

Familiar face: Tuesday marks the first time the Rangers will face their former beloved teammate, Brandon Prust, since he signed with the Canadiens. The gritty do-it-all forward, one of they key "glue guys" last season, earned himself a nice payday in free agency. The 28-year-old inked a four-year deal with the Canadiens worth $10 million in July.

Rangers debut: Recently recalled forward Brandon Mashinter is expected to make his Rangers debut Tuesday. The physical 24-year-old was called up from the Rangers' AHL squad on Monday in the wake of a concussion to fourth-line forward Darroll Powe. Mashinter, who was traded to the Rangers from San Jose earlier this season, had 5 goals and 6 assists in 14 games this season for the AHL's Connecticut Whale. He also had 23 penalty minutes. Mashinter previously played 13 games for San Jose in the 2010-11 season.

Fists flying: Might Prust try to prove where his allegiances lie? It wouldn't be a stretch to assume the rugged winger will drop the gloves against his old teammates. Should that happen, it would likely be tough guy Arron Asham or Mashinter who is forced to answer the bell. Prust is tied for second in the league with five fighting majors this season.

Hagelin getting hot: With a goal in Sunday's 2-1 win against Washington, first-line winger Carl Hagelin extended his goal-scoring streak to four games. The speedy 24-year-old has 7 points during that span and is creating havoc with his legs while playing with center Derek Stepan and winger Rick Nash.

Price is right: Habs netminder Carey Price is expected to be back in net for Montreal after backing up Peter Budaj in Budaj's shutout win against the Hurricanes on Monday night. Price will face reigning Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist in net.

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