Brassard, Moore Feel Comfortable in NY
If Rangers fans didn't know what Derick Brassard and John Moore could bring to the lineup when they were acquired at the trade deadline from Columbus, they have a better idea now.
Brassard made a big impact in his first game with the Rangers when he posted a goal and three assists against the Pittsburgh Penguins on April 3. Since then, the 25-year-old center has posted five points in his last four games, and has added balance throughout the lineup and down the middle.
"I feel more comfortable," Brassard said following his two-goal performance Thursday night in the team's 6-1 win over the Florida Panthers. "I want to be part of the success we want to have here and I know I can help. I'm going to bring that energy for the rest of the five games we have here."
Prior to the trade, Brassard had seven goals and 11 assists in 34 games with the Blue Jackets. The sixth overall pick from 2006 had his most productive season in 2010-11 when he finished with 17 goals and 47 points with Columbus.
Brassard has been a shot in the arm for the Rangers power play, posting two goals and two assists with the man advantage in eight games. Since he arrived in New York, the Rangers power play has gone 7-for-29 (24.1 percent).
Rangers head coach John Tortorella put a lot of that success on Brassard's shoulders.
"He's been good on the power play," Tortorella told reporters Thursday night. "The thing I like about him is he doesn't panic with the puck. He makes plays. It's not off the glass. He can make some plays. He deserves where he's at on the power play. He's earned a spot there."
Moore was arguably the most unknown of the three players – along with Brassard and injured forward Derek Dorsett — who arrived in New York in exchange for a package that included Marian Gaborik.
The 22-year-old, who was taken 21st overall pick in the 2009 draft, has a goal and two assists in eight games with the Rangers after posting just one assist in 17 games with the Blue Jackets. Before this season, Moore had just two goals and eight points in 69 career games.
The speedy, physical defenseman said he too is feeling more comfortable with each passing game with his new team.
"Getting traded is not easy on a lot of different levels," he said after Thursday night's game in which he had his first NHL fight. "You're changing systems too so you have certain tendencies and habits from the old system. So every game, I feel more and more comfortable and more comfortable with the system and the guys. It's just a matter of time, I guess, and earning the coach's trust."
Tortorella praised Moore's play, especially his fight with Jack Skille which he said gave the team a boost, and that it is now up to he and his assist coaches to improve his game even further.
"He's still a young guy, but what we're trying to teach him we feel he's picking up," he said. "The way he skates and the area that he covers at that position — the onus is on us now to teach him about positioning and how we play defense … He's played well. It's a big boost for us there."
What do you think of Brassard's and Moore's play since they arrived in New York? Tell us in the comments below.