Neal Pionk was a healthy scratch for the second straight game on Saturday but David Quinn said after the game that he is someone who is going to play "a lot of hockey." (NYR)
In the first three games of the season, Pionk is a minus three, has 2 shots on goal 6 shot attempts and an average of 19:15 per game.
In just 42 minutes of 5 on 5 play this season, when Pionk is on the ice the Rangers have 38% of the shot attempts. (Natural Stat Trick)
Pionk, 23 and with 31 games of NHL experience, said last week that he has to "play better." (Newsday)
Pionk said before the season that he wanted to work on "dominating defensively" and being able to go against the top players in the league. (NY Post)
He noted that you can't take a breath in the NHL and that with the prospects that the Rangers have, "once you take a breath, someone's going to pass you." (NY Post)
Quinn said earlier on that Pionk plays with an edge, plays fast and physical and relentless, has good puck skills and is a worker and someone that you want on your team." (NYR)
Jeff Gorton said of Pionk before the season, "he's a guy, that against all odds, kept fighting. He kept working and fighting and he went to the USHL and college and he is somebody that plays big, blocks shots, moves the puck well, is a really competitive person. He's an overachiever and the kind of guy that you root for. He's going to give you everything that he has."
Adam Rotter: Pionk was a nice bright spot when he came up at the end of last season but he still only has 30ish career games played. He looks to be a big part of where the Rangers are going but he is going to have some missteps along the way and having eight capable defensemen means he will be out for a game or two. Pending injury and performance, Pionk is likely to play 70ish games this and somewhere between 16 and 18 minutes per night. David Quinn knows that this year is about seeing which of the holdover players are going to be part of the next foundation and the only way to do that is to see these guys play. It's all part of the process and while we have seen what Pionk can do when he is good, the question Quinn wants to answer is how he responds to being out for a couple of games, how he responds to not being at his best and so on. Pionk will almost certainly be back in tomorrow and it will be up to him to show he can be better than he was.