Following his team’s loss to the Islanders, Head Coach Alain Vigneault said: “I think in the past a lot of players have proven they’ve been able to do it. But I’m more in it for what you are doing for me right now.”
Who knew that one statement would be so prophetic?
Early Monday afternoon the Rangers sent Boo Nieves back to Hartford; recalling Peter Holland.
Nieves registered nine points (1G, 8A) in 28 games for the Rangers since his call-up in October.
With the team scuffling and heading backwards in the standings it was only a matter of time until the high-command made a move.
While this doesn’t qualify as a splashy move, it’s one of the few maneuvers team brass felt it could make without doing something rash.
Since being acquired from Montreal, Holland has appeared in 16 games with the Wolf Pack; registering 14 points (5G, 9A).
With Chris Kreider out indefinitely and Kevin Hayes and Ryan McDonagh looking at potential multi-games absences more moves could be on the way.
Either way, there’s little more than a month until the NHL trade deadline and the Blueshirts are neither clear-cut buyers or sellers.
The next couple weeks will go a long way towards determining their deadline status.
DEEP ROOTED CONNECTIONS
Flyers’ right-winger Dale Weise played 10 games for the Rangers during the 2010-11 season. And the Blueshirts selected Weise in the fourth-round (111th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
Ian Laperriere (Flyers Assistant Coach) appeared in 28 games for the Rangers back in the 1995-96 season.
Henrik Lundqvist: The King is the Ranger’s franchise wins leader, and he’s set to add another milestone to his legacy. Lundqvist’s next win will be the 20th of his season; becoming the first goalie in NHL history to win 20 plus games in each of his first 13 seasons. And no goalie has ever won 20 plus games in 13 straight seasons at any point in their career.
Mats Zuccarello: The scrappy winger is closing in on more career milestones. He is six goals and six points away from 100 and 300 respectively in his NHL career.
David Desharnais: The diminutive center is six games away from 500 in his NHL career.
PLAYER TO WATCH
FLYERS: SEAN COUTURIER. The Flyers’ center has gone nuclear of late. Couturier has 15 points in 10 games; five multi-point performances. And if that’s not enough, Sean registered multiple points in his last four contests; the last three being multi-goal games.
RANGERS: VINNI LETTIERI. Lettieri made his NHL debut against the Red Wings on December 29th and made a splash; scoring his first NHL goal in front of the friends and family members that made the trip to Detroit. And the shoot-first center is one of the few Rangers playing well right now. With three points in five games, the Blueshirts need to give Lettieri an extended look to see if he has what it takes to be a regular contributor at the NHL level.
There is no word on whether Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Hayes are fit enough to suit up against the Flyers.
But look for Peter Holland to try and make an impact in his first game with the Blueshirts.
However, their injuries and poor performances are mounting, so the lines and pairings should be considered to be in a state of flux.
WHERE TO WATCH
The game will be broadcast on NBCSN and MSG Networks at 7pm ET. For in-game coverage check out our Twitter account @NYRBlueBulletin.
First and foremost the Rangers need to get healthy.
Then they can start winning games again; starting with the Flyers.