Seeing former Boston College star Chris Kreider get the sudden call to play in the New York Rangers’ first round series with Ottawa has been surprising yet tough on the kid. When Carl Hagelin was sat down with a three-game suspension, the Rangers had a dire opening in their lineup and Kreider got the nod. After playing 11:11 in Game 3, Kreider played just 3:29 in Game 4.
It’s tough being put in that position straight out of college, but Rangers GM Glen Sather tells Larry Brooks of the New York Post that he’s done it before when he was in Edmonton and knows it’s tough on the players.
“It’s a whole different mindset,” Sather says. “In Edmonton I brought Esa Tikkanen and Andy Moog in for the playoffs, but Tikk came from the top league in Finland [in 1985] and Moog was in the minors [in 1981].
“I can’t say enough about the way Chris is handling this. You can see how tight he is, but who wouldn’t be? It’s not for lack of effort.”
Kreider certainly isn’t Tikkanen and well, he’s not a goalie either. One thing that might happen for Game 5, however, is the return of defenseman Steve Eminger. If he comes back, Brooks says it’s possible John Tortorella goes with Stu Bickel on the fourth line and sits Kreider, a move Sather supports should it happen.
Kreider will be a big player for the Rangers eventually, but expecting him to be the savior now is asking a lot.