For almost all of New York’s season-opening road trip — a seven-gamer that will mercifully end tonight in Winnipeg — head coach John Tortorella has made it clear he’s not keen on talking about travel.
Injuries, though? Oh yeah. Torts will talk about injuries. Which is good, because the Rangers are rather amusing when it comes to injuries.
For example, starting goalie Henrik Lundqvist has been plagued by skate issues. While not technically an injury (“the skates are out 2-4 weeks with torn laces”), it has forced Lundqivst to miss time — he left Saturday’s game in Edmonton with 11:34 to play because of pain in his feet. King Henrik returned to practice on Sunday and said he’s resolved the equipment problem, but also mentioned he’s already on his second pair of skates this fall. Seeing how hockey players are notoriously fickle when it comes to gear and goalies are the flakiest of the lot, this is no small matter. “[Lundqvist] normally uses just one pair of skates during a season,” writes Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News. “The tighter boots are not broken in, so they put pressure on the goaltender’s extremities.”
Torts, on Lundqvist: ““I wasn’t concerned because I was told he was suffering and it was like cramps. I knew it wasn’t an injury, just some equipment problems and cramps.”
Next up, Rangers center Mike Rupp. He’s been plagued by a reoccurring knee issue that’s forced him to miss some practices for maintenance days.
Torts, on Rupp: “He’s just got a cranky knee. Sometimes it flares up on him. So we just try to get him off the ice. We’ve just got to maintain it.”
Finally, Wojtek Wolski. Projected to be New York’s first-line LW alongside Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik, Wolski has been hampered by a groin issue — something that hasn’t exactly endeared him to the head coach.
Torts, on Wolski: “He’s gotta get out of the tub. Can’t get him out of the tub.”
And this is why the Rangers are run to follow. They’ve got all these bizarre injuries (cranky knee, skater’s foot, tub groin) with Dr. Tortorella offering up his unique diagnoses.
Kinda wish they could play on the road forever.
Teuvo Teravainen has played both center and right wing over the course of his brief NHL career.
Now, he’s got a new position — left wing — and a pair of shiny new linemates to boot.
Teravainen will open the year playing alongside captain Jonathan Toews and right wing Marian Hossa, per the Sun-Times.
The move could be a boon for the young Finn. Several ex-Chicago wingers thrived playing alongside Toews and Hossa, most notably Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of production Teravainen, who just turned 21 last month, can manufacture on Chicago’s top line. His numbers from last year weren’t spectacular (nine points in 34 games), but he did a solid job of racking up points en route to the Stanley Cup, with 10 in 18 games.
It’ll also be interesting to see how long he sticks with Toews and Hossa.
Head coach Joel Quenneville has been known as a frequent user of the line blender, often switching up his combos at at moment’s notice.
That said, Quenneville is hoping to find some stability with this new-look group.
“[Teuvo will] play there to start the season,” he said. “Hopefully, all year.”
Pretty cool story out of Texas, where Mattias Janmark, the 22-year-old rookie that’s played a grand total of nine games in North America, has defied the odds to make the Stars’ opening-night roster.
“It’s a great story,” Dallas GM Jim Nill said, per the Morning News. “We really only planned to have him here for maybe two preseason games and then send him back. But he just kept being one of the best players out there, and he changed our minds.
“It’s a great example of what you can do if you just play hard.”
Nill acquired Janmark, 22, from Detroit at last year’s deadline as part of the Erik Cole trade. Nill was familiar with the Swedish forward from his time with the Wings — he was part of the front office team that drafted Janmark in ’13 — but didn’t think the deal would pay such immediate dividends.
As for Janmark, he didn’t even think he’d be in North America this year.
He has a contract with SHL club Frolunda, where he scored 36 points in 55 games last year. Given he’s barely played in the AHL — a few games with Grand Rapids, a few with Texas — Janmark figured he’d be back in Europe this season.
His strong play in the exhibition season changed all that. Janmark beat out two of Dallas’ touted prospects — former AHL rookie of the year Curtis McKenzie, and ’12 first-rounder Radek Faksa — for a roster spot, and showed good chemistry with third-line center Cody Eakin.
Janmark also performed well on a line with Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky.