Per Steve Zipay, Arron Asham will dress for the first time this season when the Rangers are in Los Angeles tomorrow to take on the Kings. He will be taking Jesper Fast’s spot in the lineup. Asham will skate on the fourth line.
While the initial reaction will likely be outrage (How dare this team sit a kid? He should be in the AHL then. Insert complaint here), it’s worth noting that the Rangers need to carry an extra forward since they are out west for a few weeks. When they return east, they will be able to slide with 12 forwards. Hence, Fast in the press box instead of the AHL.
Per Pat Leonard, Ryan Callahan is back on the ice, skating between Taylor Pyatt and Brian Boyle. This
likely (not likely, is) means Cally will be returning to the lineup on Monday in Los Angeles. Leornard also noted that the fourth line consisted of a rotation of Derek Dorsett and Jesper Fast on the right side of J.T. Miller (LW) and Dom Moore (C). It is expected that Fast will be returned to the Hartford Wolfpack of the AHL, who just cleared a forward spot on their roster.
The Rangers announced their final roster cuts this morning, assigning Chris Kreider, Oscar Lindberg, Marek Hrivik, Darroll Powe, Brandon Mashinter, Stu Bickel and Conor Allen to the Hartford Wolfpack. Powe, Mashinter and Bickel must all clear waivers.
The following players made the opening night roster:
Forwards: Arron Asham, Brian Boyle, Derick Brassard, Ryan Callahan, Derek Dorsett, Jesper Fast, Carl Hagelin, J.T. Miller, Dominic Moore, Rick Nash, Benoit Pouliot, Taylor Pyatt, Brad Richards, Derek Stepan, Mats Zuccarello
Defensemen: Michael Del Zotto, Justin Falk, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, John Moore, Marc Staal, Anton Stralman
Goalies: Henrik Lundqvist, Marty Biron
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Per Andrew Gross, Brad Richards will be a healthy scratch tonight. Richards was on the ice with the extra skaters following today’s optional skate. For those saying players are never held accountable, here’s your proof that they ARE held accountable.
Per Andrew Gross, Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh are back together as a pairing on defense. After an abysmal Game Two with Michael Del Zotto, Girardi will be reunited with McDonagh to form that top shutdown pair the Rangers split up after the Washington series. Del Zotto will be with Anton Stralman, and the John Moore-Steve Eminger pair remains the same.
The change is likely two-fold: Realizing that the current pairs weren’t working, and that the Rangers have home ice (and last change) for the next two games.
Per Andrew Gross, coach John Tortorella has flipped his defensive pairs to prep for the Boston series, as “Ryan McDonagh is skating with Anton Stralman while Dan Girardi is with Michael Del Zotto. John Moore remains with Steve Eminger and Marc Staal (blurred vision) is not skating.” This makes sense, as the Bruins are a much deeper and less top-heavy team than the Caps, requiring the Rangers to adjust their pairings to be able to deal with four strong lines.
Gross also notes that in addition to Staal, Darroll Powe and Ryane Clowe are not skating.
Per Dan Rosen, Ryane Clowe said there is a “good chance” he plays tonight. Clowe, who hasn’t skated in the playoffs, will likely take the place of the injured Darroll Powe. Powe appeared to suffer a concussion in the Game Three victory, as he left in the first period and did not return. Powe, who suffered a concussion earlier this season, is likely done for the playoffs if this news is true.
Per Katie Strang, the Rangers have activated Marc Staal off injured reserve. This is not a guarantee that he will play tonight, but it is very likely he will be back. Staal will likely replace Steve Eminger in the lineup.
Per Dan Rosen, Ryane Clowe left the optional skate early this morning, while Arron Asham stayed on the ice a bit longer. This generally suggests that Asham will be a scratch, and Clowe will make his return to the lineup. Rosen also noted that Marc Staal is physically ready (reading between the lines of his tweet), but it’s more of a mental thing with Staal. He has to be able to play without feeling like his decision-making will burden the team.
Naturally, Torts isn’t revealing any of his lineup decisions until the warmups, so don’t expect any updates until just before puck drop.
Per the Rangers Twitter account, Derek Dorsett and Brian Boyle are partaking in warmups and will play tonight. Kris Newbury and Chris Kreider are not in warmups, and will be scratched.