Rangers Roundup: Gallant focusing on fixes, Strome says team unhappy with recent play, and more
The New York Rangers first year head coach has his team in prime position to make the playoffs as they head towards a long break.
While many teams had large swaths of games postponed in December, they will be using the previous Olympic break (2/7 – 2/22) to make up dozens of games. The Rangers, who were not hit hard with postponements will be making up three games starting on February 15th at home against the Bruins.
That means they’ll be off for two weeks, which allows management to assess the 47 games played and decide on exactly what they need to compete down the stretch.
New York Rangers focus on fixes
Gerard Gallant has bounced around certain players all over the lineup due to injury or COVID related issues. Yesterday at practice, Dryden Hunt was back on the second line, and Alexis Lafrenière was on a third line with Filip Chytil and Julien Gauthier.
“I’m just trying to get line familiarity,” Gallant said about his shuffling.
“I’ve been going back and forth way too much. It’s not something I want to do is, it’s something I have to do.”
With the Panthers in town and coming off another offensive explosion, this time scoring 8 against the Blue Jackets on Monday, Gallant is first focused on a win.
“Hopefully tomorrow goes real well and we get two big points,”Gallant explained. “Then we have 14 days to get things back on track. Put your lines together, D-pairing together, assess what the first half of season was like and what we have to get better at… This break is going to do us real good.”
One area Gallant had no concern with was goaltending as he commended the play of both his goalies.
“We know what we’ve got back there in goal,” Gallant said. “[Shesterkin] been arguably the best goalie in the league”
Strome says team heard Gallant’s complaints
After the game against the Seattle Kraken, where the team won despite being outshot 42-24, Gallant was not pleased.
“Im not too happy,” Gallant said afterwards. “Today it was disappointing to watch that after two losses. I expect a lot more from my group and I didn’t see much of it.”
Yesterday, the coach had some time to sleep on it and changed his tune a bit.
“It’s great to get the two points and I feel a lot better today,” Gallant smiled. “Now let’s get ready for the Panthers. Arguably the best team in the league.”
Ryan Strome is one of the team’s six alternate captains and told the press he and his teammates heard the coach loud and clear.
“I would say if guys weren’t aware themselves without hearing those comments, they’re not in the right mindset,” Strome explained. “I think everyone was aware of how we felt after the game, during the game, the last few games really, in my opinion. Obviously it’s a long season and there’s times like this and you never want to get the coach to that point. It’s a great opportunity to learn from these times.”
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