Practice Report: Clowe, and Desperation
The day after the Rangers fell into an 0-3 hole in their best-of-seven semifinal series with the Boston Bruins, the team held an optional practice at the MSG Training Center, with 13 players---largely extras and scratches---taking part. Some regulars, like team captain Ryan Callahan and top-pair defenseman Ryan McDonagh practiced on Wednesday, but most---like Henrik Lundqvist, Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, and Dan Girardi did not.
Ryane Clowe made a brief appearance on the ice at the very start of the workout. It was his first time on the ice since suffering an undisclosed injury during Game Five of the first round quarterfinal series in Washington. Clowe skated for a bit before exited when drills started up. Darroll Powe and Marc Staal, bot of whom have been sideliend due to injury, practiced, as did Carl Hagelin, who took a puck in the mouth during Tuesday night's 2-1 loss at Madison Square Garden.
Neither Anton Stralman nor Chris Kreider took part in practice on Wednesday. Stralman was kayoed in Game Three by a Milan Lucic hit in the second period, while Kreider took a stick up and under his eye shield in the third period and did not return to the game either. The team did not have any updates on any of the injured Ranger players.
Who will be able, or not able, to play in Thursday's must-win Game Four at The Garden won't be known until tomorrow. However what the Rangersa do know is that they need a victory in order to keep their season alive.
"For us to try and crawl back into this and win a game, I think we need to be more desperate," explained head coach John Tortorella. "I think our team is working hard, but we're down 0-3. We have to find a way to get to another level."
Added Callahan, "Our effort is there. Everyone in here wants to win. Everybody is trying to contribute. It's just a matter of executing. We don't have to look at the last game, or any other game. We know the group we have in here, and right now we're just looking at one game at home and we have to do everything we can to win it."
Forward Mats Zuccarello noted after practice that there are plenty of negative things or statistcis the Rangers could dwell on or be caught up in, but "it's not the time to think negative." Zuccarello, like his teammates, remains confident in the group of Rangers he is playing with.
"I think we have a good team here," said Zuccarello. "(The Bruins) are playing good, but it's about time we finish our chances and put more pressure on them."
McDonagh offered that team would not get "worked up" by being in such a precarious position. They know what they face and what needs to be done to start digging themselves out of such a hole.
"Obviously it is a tall task, but you can't look at the big picture," explained McDonagh. "We take it day by day here, and you try and get yourself better, as close as to 100 percent as you can for each game, and you have to use your home crowd again tomorrow and try and thrive off that. We haven't been giving up, so it should be a good battle tomorrow."
Should the Rangers win on Thursday, they would face the Bruins up in Boston for Game Five on Saturday afternoon at 5:30 PM.