Rangers Roundup: How Knoblauch will replace Gallant, Panarin on COVID, and more

kris knoblauch
Mar 17, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Handling coaching duties for the New York Rangers against the Philadelphia Flyers are Hartford Wolf Pack head coach Kris Knoblauch (pictured here) and Wolf Pack associate head coach Gord Murphy and Rangers associate general manager Chris Drury at Madison Square Garden. Due to the NHL COVID-10 protocol, the Rangers coaching staff were not available for tonights game. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers can move past the idle Carolina Hurricanes and into first place in the Metropolitan Division by earning at least a point against the Kings on Monday.

They will have to do so without their head coach.

Gerard Gallant was entered into the NHL’s COVID protocol on Sunday. He must now quarantine for five days and is eligible to return for Saturday’s tilt against the Philadelphia Flyers.

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Knoblauch back behind the bench

As legendary NY Yankees catcher and coach Yogi Berra once said, “It’s deja vu all over again.”

Kris Knoblauch will be behind the Rangers bench for at least the next two games against the Kings and Sharks (Thursday). This will also be the second time he’s been called up to be the temporary head coach.

Last year, with David Quinn and his entire staff on COVID protocol, Knoblauch stepped in and helped the team win four of six games.

So how does it work? Does Knoblauch just come in and set his own lineups and execute his own game plans?

Not at all.

When he stepped in last year, Knoblauch was in constant communication with Quinn, who gave him the lineup, the lines, and the plan for each opponent.

After the Rangers demolished the Flyers 9-0, Knoblauch detailed how Quinn and the staff prepared them. “I talked to Quinny throughout the day – we probably had six phone calls,” he revealed. “Obviously the game plan was set out for us – well prepared.”

“A big part of our success tonight came off O-zone face-offs,” Knoblauch continued. “I remember that was one of the things [Quinn] told me before the game was to give our top lines more opportunities to score. Have them take those offensive zone face-offs.”

Through those comments Knoblauch detailed exactly what his role was and this time around should be no different.

Knoblauch, 42, was named the Head Coach of Wolf Pack in 2019. This season, he is 15-9-2-2 and has the Rangers AHL affiliate in a prime position to make the playoffs.

Panarin back, details COVID experience

panarin covid
Artemi Panarin Rangers (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

Artemi Panarin is back and ready to play against the Kings tonight.

New York Rangers forward Panarin and assistant coach Mike Kelly were added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list on January 2. Kelly has yet to be cleared and remains on protocol with Gallant, Igor Shesterkin, Ryan Reaves, and Julien Gauthier.

Panarin, 30, is tied for the Rangers lead in points (36) with defenseman Adam Fox. He has 509 points (175 goals, 334 assists) in 464 career games with the Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets and Rangers.

Yesterday he detailed his COVID experience.

“The first couple of days were not my best [with symptoms] but today was fine,” said Panarin, who had been able to skate on his own in New York while the team has been on the road. “For sure I’m ready to play.”

NY Post

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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