Rangers Roundup: Kakko back to full practice, Gallant wants more grit; less fancy, and Messier on pressure of winning in NY

kaapo kakko
Nov 7, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Rangers right wing Kaapo Kakko (24) comes out onto the ice before the start of the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Rangers won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Kaapo Kakko is still listed on IR but was a full participant at practice yesterday. He is expected to play against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Garden on Friday.

The 20 year-old skated on his regular line with Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome. Kakko has no points in three games and left after the first period with an undisclosed upper-body injury in the Rangers 3-1 win over Montreal.

Gerard Gallant wants more grit from his Rangers

The Rangers were done in against Calgary by their unwillingness to stop playing the “sexy East-West” game as Jacob Trouba put it. The Flames pounced on the Blueshirts 20 turnovers en route to a 5-1 win.

Head coach Gerard Gallant wasn’t happy and held a video session to show them their mistakes.

“I thought the meeting was good, it was justified,” Patrik Nemeth said after an egregious giveaway that led directly to a Flames goal.

gerard gallant
Oct 18, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant during the first period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

“You’ve got to grittier,” Gallant said. “You’re playing Calgary, they’re a big heavy team, you know how they play. If you don’t respond to the way they play then we’ll play like we did (Monday) night. It wasn’t good enough.”

Gallant provided more specificity as to what he wants the Rangers to be careful with.

“We want to make those skilled plays all the time and there’s a fine line between making those skilled plays that work and those skilled plays that end up in the back of our net on Grade A scoring chances at that’s what happens in the first.” he explained.

“We’ve got to become a man’s team.”

Mark Messier on winning in New York

The Rangers ended a 54 year Stanley Cup drought thanks to the leadership of Mark Messier. Winning in New York certainly has different pressures and Mess gave some insights recently. He’s currently doing media for his new book, No One Wins Alone.

“When I first got to New York the team would have rather not talked about expectations and winning the Stanley Cup. It was easier not to talk about it and get fans disappointed and have to deal with losing and then the aftermath of losing,” Messier told Sean Leahy of NBC Sports.

“I came from a culture and an organization (Oilers) that was completely opposite,” Mess continued. “So from the first time I was ever playing in the NHL the expectations were ‘I’m here to win a Stanley Cup.’ That had to change in New York, and of course with that brings added pressure and expectations and decisions that have to be made in order to get you there. I was happy to see that culture change [happen] and there was a buy-in from ownership and management. Obviously it was one of the reasons why we were able to eventually win in New York.”

Mess had plenty to say, click the link above for the full interview.

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