Rangers Roundup: Throwback Trouba, new fourth line, and more
Jacob Trouba was given the Broadway Hat by Will Cuylle as the player of the game after the New York Rangers won it 5-4 in overtime on Monday night.
The awarding of the hat is a tradition that dates back to 2011, when forward Brad Richards introduced the snazzy cap and ritual to the team. It starts with the first win of the season, where the captain decides who gets it first. After each victory, the previous winner decides who wears it next until the final game of the campaign.
Although the 28 year-old defenseman finished the game with no points and a -2 rating, it was his two bone crushing hits (six in total) followed by fights that earned him the admiration of his teammates.
Alexis Lafreniere, who scored the game-winner and earned First Star of the night honors, had some praise for his captain.
“He’s playing hard– couple of big hits and fights,” Lafreniere said. “He’s our leader and he plays a tough game that’s fun to watch. A defenseman that plays like that is good to see and he was a leader for us again today.”
Jacob Trouba a throwback
When you think of hockey back in the 1990’s, hits like those thrown by Trouba last night were considered a dime a dozen. Defensemen like Scott Stevens, Darius Kasparitis, and Niklas Kronwall were guys you had to watch out for on the ice at all times. There were also bruising forwards like Eric Lindros, Cam Neely, and Wendel Clark that had you on your toes.
If there was a fight for every time they caught someone with a huge hit, an NHL contest would take double the time it does today to complete.
However yesterday, the Rangers took it to a Flames team that ran over them in two games last season. Led by Trouba’s big-time hits, the Blueshirts did not relent an inch of ice and actually pushed Calgary back leading to the eventual win.
“It’s always been a part of how I play hockey,” Trouba said Tuesday. “[The opposition overreacting] is not something I can control and not something I worry about.”
Of course, Trouba doesn’t mind answering the challenge for his hits, but coach Gerard Gallant had no issue voicing his displeasure after the match.
“It’s a shame [Trouba has] to do that every time you throw a hit,” Gallant explained. “For me, the first one was a good, clean hockey hit. It wasn’t a dangerous hit. You wouldn’t think there would be retaliation to that, but there was, and that’s fine. But the second one he hit Kadri pretty hard… I just think sometimes it gets a little overreaction.”
New York Rangers Big, Bad Fourth Line
The New York Rangers unveiled a big new fourth line with the return of Sammy Blais from his conditioning stint with the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Jake Leschyshyn centered Will Cuylle and Blais to give the Blueshirts a formidable trio with great size and decent speed. The unit had several scoring chances but went out there and handed the Flames some punishment.
Today at practice, the line was taking regular rushes together again suggesting they will be out there when the Rangers host the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday.
“From what we need those players to do, I was happy with their game,” Gallant said today. “I really was.”
This will be noteworthy to watch as the trade deadline approaches. Both Vitali Kravtsov and Julien Gauthier are the odd men out.
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