In their Annual Yearbook, The Hockey News picks the Rangers to finish in seventh place in the Eastern Conference. They place their Stanley Cup odds at 25-1.

They predict the Rangers to finish third in the Atlantic Division behind the Penguins and the Flyers.

They have the Washington Capitals winning the Stanley Cup.

The same eight teams are projected to make the playoffs in the east, with the bottom eight being a little shaken up. This is around where I think the Rangers will finish, sixth or seventh. That may not seem like progress to some, but I think that it's going to be a closer race and that the Rangers will have their spot locked up in advance of the last day of the season.

The Rangers were projected to finish 13th by The Hockey News last season.

Tags: 2011-12 Predictions, Adam Rotter

Sep 27, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a first period goal against the New York Islanders during a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Sep 27, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a first period goal against the New York Islanders during a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

After it was originally announced that Pavel Buchnevich would not play on Saturday in a back to back , he played 17:39 and had an assist.

Buchnevich had 2 shots on goal and played 5:39 in the first period, 5:23 in the second period and 6:37 in the third period, with 3:08 coming on the PP.

When Buchnevich was on the ice at 5 on 5, the Rangers had 9 shot attempts for, 18 against, 6 shots on goal for, 10 against and 1 goal for and 1 against. (Natural Stat Trick)

At 5 on 5, he played 13:18 with Kevin Hayes on Saturday and 13:06 with Rick Nash. (Natural Stat Trick)

Tags: Pavel Buchnevich
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Nov 18, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Montreal Canadiens forward Andrew Shaw (65) reacts to a third period penalty call against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Hurricanes won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports  (James Guillory)
Nov 18, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Montreal Canadiens forward Andrew Shaw (65) reacts to a third period penalty call against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Hurricanes won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

In the first period last night Andrew Shaw was ejected and given a five minute major for a hit he put on Jesper Fast.

Shaw said on Sunday that he disagreed with being thrown out of the game but that he hasn't received a call from the league about the hit. (Stein)

He said that his hit was "maybe a half a second late" but that he made sure it was shoulder to shoulder. (Stein

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Dec 29, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Rangers left wing Marek Hrivik (46) carries the puck during the third period against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports (Matt Kartozian)
Dec 29, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Rangers left wing Marek Hrivik (46) carries the puck during the third period against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports (Matt Kartozian)

The Rangers have placed Marek Hrivik on waivers. (Lavoie)

Hrivik has played in 16 games with the Rangers this season, has 2 assists and a minus three rating.

He Hrivik has 15 shots on goal, has attempted 28 shots and was averaging 10:25 per game.

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Jan 14, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers forward Rick Nash (61) reacts after scoring a goal during the second period of the game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Bolte)
Jan 14, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers forward Rick Nash (61) reacts after scoring a goal during the second period of the game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Bolte)

In two games since returning to the Rangers lineup, Rick Nash has one goal on five shots.

Nash is averaging 16:47 per game and played 15:39 against the Leafs and 17:54 against Montreal.

Against the Leafs:

  • Nash had 2 shots on goal, 2 shots that missed the net, 2 hits, 2 giveaways and 1 takeaway while playing 4:49 in the first, 5:48 in the second, 5:02 in the third, 4:14 on the PP and 2:03 on the PK.
Tags: Rick Nash
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Jan 14, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Paul Byron (41) reacts with teammate Phillip Danault (24) after scoring a goal against New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) during the third period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Bolte)
Jan 14, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Paul Byron (41) reacts with teammate Phillip Danault (24) after scoring a goal against New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) during the third period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Bolte)

With the Rangers up 3-2 last night in the third period, the Montreal Canadians scored thrice in 62 seconds to take a 5-3 lead and eventually win 5-4.

Alain Vigneault said that the puck seemed to have "eyes" in that stretch and that the Rangers made some mistakes that ended up in their net.

Ryan McDonagh said that the Rangers were playing well in the first part of the third period and that for just over one minute the Rangers lost their focus and structure. (MSG)

JT Miller called it a "one minute lapse" that they can't let happen. (MSG)

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Alain Vigneault met with the media following the Rangers loss in Montreal and said (MSG):

  • What happened to Raanta, "Antti suffered a lower body injury in the first period and wasn't able to come back."
  • On the 62 seconds, "we made a bad pass on the icing and then the puck seemed to have eyes and find the back of the net. We came to play and unfortunately in that short span we made a couple of mistakes that ended up in the back of our net but we battled hard and came out and scored four goals on Price which we hadn't done in a while. Unfortunately the game got away from us and we tried to battle back at the end and weren't able to get it done."
  • On the Shaw hit, "it was a late hit and the refs called it and that's it."
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Jan 14, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) looks on during the warmup period before the game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports  (Eric Bolte)
Jan 14, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) looks on during the warmup period before the game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Bolte)

Henrik Lundqvist spoke with the media on MSG after the Rangers loss and said:

  • On those 62 seconds, "you can't. It's just things going wrong extremely fast. It happened yesterday too after a goal we gave up a couple of chances right away. It's disappointing and personally coming in like this and not being able to come up with the saves. It's definitely not an easy game to play when it opens up like that in the second. The third was kind of quiet but the bounces were tough to defend."
  • On his confidence, "I'm just trying hard to be positive right now. The last two games have not been bouncing the right way. You feel tired when you sit here and you are looking for a good feeling but we take a day off tomorrow and then get ready for the next game."
Tags: Henrik Lundqvist
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Montreal's Alexander Radulov plays the puck as Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein (8) defends during the first period. (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)
Montreal's Alexander Radulov plays the puck as Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein (8) defends during the first period. (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)

First Period

  • 12:24 NYR Brandon Pirri (Power Play) Assists: Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan

Second Period 

  • 3:08 MON Alex Galchenyuk Assists: Mark Barberio, Max Pacioretty
  • 6:20 NYR Rick Nash Assists: Kevin Hayes, Pavel Buchnevich
  • 7:58 MON Brian Flynn Assists: Phillip Danault, Jeff Petry
  • 11:07 NYR J.T. Miller (Short Handed) Assists: Kevin Hayes

Third Period

  • 10:53 MON Alexei Emelin Assists: Phillip Danault
  • 11:29 MON Max Pacioretty
  • 11:55 MON Brian Flynn
  • 14:53 NYR Derek Stepan Assists: Mats Zuccarello, Nick Holden
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Nov 13, 2016; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; New York Rangers goaltender Antti Raanta (32) makes a save during warmup against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports (Perry Nelson)
Nov 13, 2016; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; New York Rangers goaltender Antti Raanta (32) makes a save during warmup against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports (Perry Nelson)

8:17PM: Antti Raanta is out for the rest of the game after suffering a lower body injury in the first period.

Henrik Lundqvist is in net for the second and the Rangers are reportedly looking for a backup goalie. (Friedman)

In the first period Raanta stopped all 10 shots that he faced.

Raanta was bumped by Montreal's Andrew Shaw on a goal that was overturned.

Tags: Antti Raanta
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6PM: Alain Vigneault said before the game (NYR):

  • On Marc Staal, (To Rangers PR) "any updates on Marc? No. I haven't asked."
  • On rebounding after a loss, "I have a lot of faith in our group about responding from a game where we could have played better. There were parts of our game that I liked and other parts that could have been better. Tonight we are focused on Montreal. We have a plan and we will try and execute it. We know they are a real good team and will be focused and ready."
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Sep 29, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) skates against the New Jersey Devils during the third period of a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 29, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) skates against the New Jersey Devils during the third period of a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

In his return after missing 27 games, Pavel Buchnevich had an assist, 1 shot on goal, 2 shots that missed the net and 1 takeaway in 10:43.

Buchnevich played 2:06 in the first, 3:51 in the second and 4:46 in the third including a primary assist on his final shift.

He played 6:39 at even strength and 4:04 on the PP.

Alain Vigneault said after the game on Buchnevich, "first game in a while back in the NHL. He had a couple of more shifts in the third and get a couple of looks." (MSG)

Tags: Pavel Buchnevich
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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Henrik Lundqvist is 6-3 in his last 10 starts with a save percentage of .903 and 27 goals allowed.

He has allowed at least 4 goals in 4 of his last six starts with his other two starts being games where he has only allowed two goals against.

Larry Brooks writes that the idea of limiting starts for Henrik Lundqvist to keep him fresh throughout the year and playoffs is "sound" but not working. (NY Post)

Tags: Henrik Lundqvist
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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

The Rangers were 0-6 last night in 10:55 of PP time while the Leafs were 2 for 4 on the PP in 4:56.

The Rangers only had 5 shots on goal in their PP time.

Henrik Lundqvist said that being minus two on special teams was "the difference tonight" and that the PK starts with him and that the guys on the PP "know what they have to do." (MSG)

Ryan McDonagh said that the Leafs seemed to outwork the Rangers when the Rangers were on the PP and and that they struggled to sustain pressure. (Rangers Game Notes)

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Jan 4, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault behind the bench against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Rangers defeated the Flyers, 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Jan 4, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault behind the bench against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Rangers defeated the Flyers, 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

Alain Vigneault met with the media following the Rangers loss to Toronto on Friday and said (MSG):

  • On special teams, "it played a part in the outcome of this game. Our PP which had been a real strong weapon for us in the last little while had quite a few opportunities but didn't get any good looks other than off a faceoff where we hit the post. Their PK pressure was hard as far as us getting quality looks and there is no doubt that our PK gave them some real good opportunities and they made us pay for them."
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The NY Daily News and Newsday had their front and back covers honor Steven McDonald.


Jan 3, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) makes a save against the Buffalo Sabres during the first period at Madison Square Garden.  (Brad Penner (USA Today))
Jan 3, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) makes a save against the Buffalo Sabres during the first period at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner (USA Today))

Henrik Lundqvist spoke on MSG after the Rangers loss to Toronto and said:

  • On early first period goals against, "I don't know, I don't have the answer. If we did have it it would be easy to correct but sometimes you get into a situation like this where it happens a few games and we put ourselves in a tough spot in the end. The big kill of this game was the third goal. We turned it around a bit, score our first goal and have the momentum and then a bad bounce and that was a tough one. The energy went down after that and it was hard for us to create the big chances."
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GEICO SportsNite: Henrik burned 00:00:30
Henrik Lundqvist and Dan Girardi speak to media following the Rangers' 4-2 loss to the Maple Leafs.

First Period

  • 4:49 TOR William Nylander; Assists: Nazem Kadri, Matt Hunwick
  • 17:28 TOR James van Riemsdyk (Power Play); Assists: Mitchell Marner, Tyler Bozak

Second Period 

  • 9:05 NYR Chris Kreider; Assists: Ryan McDonagh, Mats Zuccarello
  • 14:27 TOR Connor Brown; Assists: Auston Matthews, Jake Gardiner

Third Period

  • 13:20 TOR Connor Carrick; Assists: Tyler Bozak, Mitchell Marner
  • 18:35 NYR J.T. Miller; Assists: Pavel Buchnevich, Adam Clendening
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The Rangers honored Steven McDonald with a video tribute featuring current and former Rangers including Henrik Lundqvist, Mike Richter, Adam Graves, Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello.

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As part of their plan to honor Steven McDonald, the Rangers have set up a stall in their locker room in his honor.

The Rangers will wear jerseys with his name during warmups.

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Alain Vigneault spoke with the media on Friday before tonight's game against the Leafs (NYR):

  • On Buchnevich, "I would say that he was strong enough but his back had some issues from probably past years so there needed to be some strengthening of his core area that we figured originally would take us three weeks and it was double the time. After playing the three games that he did in the American league we called him up. We won't play him for a while in back to back situations. He will play tonight but not tomorrow. The docs want to be on a prudent side. I feel that with everything he has gone through and the daily work he is getting with our conditioning staff and medical staff, that should not be an issue anymore."
  • "I'm still waiting to find out from Jesper how he is feeling. I talked to him briefly on the ice, he said that he felt okay. I gotta talk to Rammer, one I sort that out I will figure out my lines for tonight...Step and Hayes aren't changing, it's the other two that could change."
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Oct 28, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes forward Elias Lindholm (16) skates with the puck against New York Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich (89) during the third period at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New York Rangers 3-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
Oct 28, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes forward Elias Lindholm (16) skates with the puck against New York Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich (89) during the third period at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New York Rangers 3-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

3:22PM: Alain Vigneault said on Friday, "I would say that he was strong enough but his back had some issues from probably past years so there needed to be some strengthening of his core area that we figured originally would take us three weeks and it was double the time. After playing the three games that he did in the American league we called him up. We won't play him for a while in back to back situations. He will play tonight but not tomorrow. The docs want to be on a prudent side. I feel that with everything he has gone through and the daily work he is getting with our conditioning staff and medical staff, that should not be an issue anymore."

11:30AM: Pavel Buchnevich will return to the Rangers lineup tonight against Toronto but he will not play tomorrow in the second half of a back to back. (NYR)

Vigneault reportedly said that Buchnevich won't play back to backs for a while. (Cyrgalis)

Tags: Pavel Buchnevich
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10:56AM: The Rangers are using the following lines at today's morning skate today (Steve Zipay)

  • Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, Mats Zuccarello
  • Michael Grabner, Kevin Hayes, JT Miller
  • Jimmy Vesey, Oscar Lindberg, Rick Nash
  • Pavel Buchnevich, Brandon Pirri, Jesper Fast

The Rangers defense pairs are Ryan McDonagh and Brady Skjei, Dan Girardi and Nick Holden, Kevin Klein and Adam Clendening. (Zipay)

The Rangers PP units at practice are McDonagh, Pirri, Kreider, Stepan and Zuccarello & Clendening, Buchnevich, Hayes, Vesey and Nash. (Cyrgalis)

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Nov 21, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers right wing Rick Nash (61) receives congratulations from his bench after scoring a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at the PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Nov 21, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers right wing Rick Nash (61) receives congratulations from his bench after scoring a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at the PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

3:21PM: Alain Vigneault said today about Nash, "had a talk with him yesterday prior to practice. 100%, ready to go, before he got injured he was one of our best two-way players if not our best two-way player at that time. He was competing real hard and using his tools that make him the player that he is, a power forward that can take pucks to the net and make it really challenging on the opposition. The guy that can defend, knows how to use his body and stick to defend against elite players because most of the time he is playing against of the other team's top personnel. He looked anxious to get back. I think he wanted to get back prior to the break but this was on the safe side and we are good to go."

1:06PM: Nash said this morning that he is "good, everything feels good. No setbacks." (NYR)

9:21AM: Rick Nash will return to the Rangers lineup tonight after missing the past 8 games with a groin injury.

Tags: Rick Nash
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 (@nyrangers)
(@nyrangers)

The Rangers will honor Steven McDonald tonight before their game against the Maple Leafs.

The team has posted this jersey that features his badge number.

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GEICO SportsNite: Rangers 00:01:30
Henrik Lundqvist and Mika Zibanejad talk about the team getting healthy and their preparation for the second half of the NHL season.

Dec 15, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault watches his team take on the Dallas Stars during the third period at the American Airlines Center. The Rangers shut out the Stars 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)
Dec 15, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault watches his team take on the Dallas Stars during the third period at the American Airlines Center. The Rangers shut out the Stars 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)

Alain Vigneault met with the media on Thursday following Rangers practice and said (NYR):

  • Is Rick playing tomorrow, "yes."
  • Is Buchnevich, "I would say that unless something happens between now and then that both guys should be available to us. Pavel played three games in Hartford. First one they liked, second one they felt was just okay and the third one they liked. Skated well today, I think we are good to go."
  • On Mika talking his way in, "he could if he really wanted to, but no, he just hasn't had any practice time. The other guys had been practicing, Pavel was playing, Nasher was practicing a long time with the group. In Mika's cast, he skated today as a defenseman, he will skate tomorrow morning with the group and I would say that his first real practice will be on Monday so after that it will probably be day to day."
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Nov 6, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (61) skates during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports (Danny Wild)
Nov 6, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (61) skates during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports (Danny Wild)

9:29AM: Vigneault said of Buchnevich's time in Harfford, "like I mentioned, he played real well in the first game, very pleased with his first game back. Just okay in his second and they liked his third. They thought that he made some plays and got involved. Conditioning wise he seems to be where he is supposed to be. Hopefully that three game experience will prepare him to contribute here, before he got hurt the second time he was playing real well for us and that is the player we are looking for."

On the rehab and training Buchnevich has had, "that is what we are hoping on and that is why we took the time that we did to strengthen his core and his back where he had some issues. We are keeping our fingers crossed and with all the hard work that he put in, we are hoping and we are confident that it will pay off. He's looked real good, he's been telling everyone that he feels fine and he has played and practiced and looked good."

5:33PM: Alain Vigneault said today that both Rick Nash and Pavel Buchnevich are expected to play tomorrow when the Rangers return from their bye.

Tags: Pavel Buchnevich, Rick Nash
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Dec 8, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal (18) warms up prior to the game against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports  (Bruce Fedyck)
Dec 8, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal (18) warms up prior to the game against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports (Bruce Fedyck)

1/12/17 | 5:35PM: Alain Vigneault said that Staal is doing "a little bit better" and is going through the concussion protocol. (NYR)

Vigneault said "Marc is feeling a little bit better, is going along, is going through the concussion protocol and it's a day by day and feel by feel thing. He has been through it before and hopefully he will be back sooner than later."

9:42PM: Staal is believed to be symptom free after working out at the Rangers practice facility this week. (NY Post)

Tags: Marc Staal
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Oct 28, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad (93) gets off a shot during the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New York Rangers 3-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
Oct 28, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad (93) gets off a shot during the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New York Rangers 3-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

1/13/17 | Alain Vigneault said on Thursday that Zibanejad hasn't had any practice time and that he would skate on Friday and Monday and then likely be day to day.

Zibanejad said that he has been feeling good but is taking things day by day and that after a few more skates they will see where things are. (SNY)

Tags: Mika Zibanejad
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Dec 20, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Nick Holden (22) at the face-off circle against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 7-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Dec 20, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Nick Holden (22) at the face-off circle against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 7-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

4:19PM: Matt Puempel is still out as he recovers from a concussion. (Brooks)

4:07PM: Rick Nash is skating today. (Brooks)

4:04PM: Jesper Fast, Nick Holden and Marc Staal are not skating today as the Rangers return to practice following their bye week. (NYR)

Fast is dealing with the flu, Holden is being listed as having a personal day and Staal reportedly missed the two games prior to the bye week with concussion symptoms.

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Sep 29, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) shoots against New Jersey Devils defenseman Steven Santini (34) during the second period of a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 29, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) shoots against New Jersey Devils defenseman Steven Santini (34) during the second period of a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

2PM: The Rangers have called up Buchnevich from Hartford.

9:17AM: Since being sent down to Hartford last week, Pavel Buchnevich has played in 3 of 4 games for the Wolf Pack.

Buchnevich had a primary assist last night, 4 shots on goal and was a plus two in the Wolf Pack's 3-1 win.

Tags: Pavel Buchnevich
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Jan 4, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (22) shoots the puck in the game against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Jan 4, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (22) shoots the puck in the game against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk is slated to be a UFA this summer and Darren Dreger said last week that the big question will be how much money he will get. (Fanrag)

He said that seven-years and $7 million per are what some people think Shattenkirk will be able to get. (Fanrag)

Dreger said that the rumor has always been that Shattenkirk has wanted to play on the East coast and pointed to the Bruins, the Rangers and maybe the Flyers as teams that could be interested. (Fanrag)

Last week Dreger said that Ken Hitchcock has nothing but praise for Shattenkirk's play on the ice and leadership and said that the Blues are likely going to keep him for a playoff run. (Fanrag)

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Dec 17, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes (13) and left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) celebrates with goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) after a shootout win against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. The Rangers won 2-1 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Dec 17, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes (13) and left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) celebrates with goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) after a shootout win against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. The Rangers won 2-1 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)

The Rangers have entered their bye week with a record of 28-13-1 with 57 points and currently hold the first Wild Card spot in the Metro Division.

After being asked about the first half of their season, Alain Vigneault said last Monday that the Rangers faced a lot of questions coming into the season and that "for the most part our game is headed in the right direction"

He said that teams aim to get better during the regular season and "that is what we are doing right now."

Vigneault added that the Rangers don't really have a choice other than to get better because of how competitive their division is.

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Dec 15, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; New York Rangers right wing Rick Nash (61) celebrates scoring the game winning goal against the Dallas Stars during the third period at the American Airlines Center. The Rangers shut out the Stars 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)
Dec 15, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; New York Rangers right wing Rick Nash (61) celebrates scoring the game winning goal against the Dallas Stars during the third period at the American Airlines Center. The Rangers shut out the Stars 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)

Rick Nash could return to the Rangers lineup on Friday after only playing in three games since the first week of December.

This season Nash has 13 goals and 7 assists and is on pace for 30 goals and 16 assists. (THN)

Nash has said that it's been frustrating for him to miss time since he felt that he was playing well at the time of the injury.

Tags: Rick Nash
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Apr 16, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein (8) checks Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Conor Sheary (43) into the boards during the first period in game two of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Apr 16, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein (8) checks Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Conor Sheary (43) into the boards during the first period in game two of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

At the expansion draft this summer the Rangers will likely protect seven forwards, three defensemen and Henrik Lundqvist.

The Rangers must expose at least one defenseman who is under contract in 2017-18 and who has played at least 40 games this season or 70 in the past two.

Current Rangers defensemen Marc Staal and Dan Girardi are protected via their no-move clauses, Brady Skjei is exempt and the Rangers would need to expose one of Ryan McDonaghNick Holden or Kevin Klein to satisfy the requirement.

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Jan 4, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault behind the bench against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Rangers defeated the Flyers, 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Jan 4, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault behind the bench against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Rangers defeated the Flyers, 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

This season, the Rangers have allowed goals in the opening 2 minutes of a game on nine different occasions:

  1. 1:13: Vladimir Tarasenko, STL (L, 3-2) -- Oct. 15, 2016
  2. 1:33: Lars Eller, WSH (W, 4-2) -- Oct. 22, 2016
  3. :33: Radim Vrbata, ARI (W, 3-2) -- Oct. 23, 2016
  4. :10: David Pastrnak, BOS (W, 5-2) -- Oct. 26, 2016
  5. 1:02: Jake Guentzel, PIT (W, 5-2) -- Nov. 21, 2016
  6. 1:54: JG Pageau, OTT (L, 2-0) -- Nov. 27, 2016
  7. :18 Johan Larsson, BUF (L, 4-3) -- Dec. 1, 2016
  8. 1:59: Cody McLeod, COL (W, 6-2) -- Dec. 31, 2016
  9. 1:54: Markus Nutivaara, CBJ (W, 5-4) -- Jan. 7, 2017
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Dec 17, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Rangers left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) scores past Nashville Predators goalie Juuse Saros (74) in the shootout at Bridgestone Arena. The Rangers won 2-1 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Dec 17, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Rangers left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) scores past Nashville Predators goalie Juuse Saros (74) in the shootout at Bridgestone Arena. The Rangers won 2-1 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)

1/13/17 | Vigneault said on Friday, "he is coming along, a young player that our management and scouts spoke very highly of but as with any young player you are hoping that what you are seeing in the leagues that they are playing in, that they can bring that to the NHL and Jimmy has done that. He has come in and very mature, extremely hard worker, he wants to learn, very easy to coach and getting an opportunity at this level and has been able to contribute 5 on 5 and PP and we are very happy with his progression."

1/10/17This season, Jimmy Vesey has 11 goals and 8 assists in 41 games, with a minus two rating, 66 shots on goal and an average of 14:16 per game.

In the past 21 games Vesey has 4 goals, 3 assists, a minus 7 rating, 31 shots on goal and an average of 13:46 per game.

Tags: Jimmy Vesey
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Brian Compton, Adam Rotter, and Nick Licalzi are all praise for forward Michael Grabner as the first year Ranger leads the team with 19 goals. The guys discuss Kevin Klein's decline and the improving health of Rick Nash and Pavel Buchnevich. Later, Chris Johnston of SportsNet calls in to give his take on the Blueshirts, and how they look heading into the second half of the season.

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NYPD detective Steven McDonald has passed away at age 59 after suffering a heart attack.

The Rangers hev released the following statement: "We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Detective Steven McDonald, a cherished member of the Rangers family. Steven exemplified the true meaning of the word hero and also personified the "Blueshirt Faithful." He is an inspiration to us all and his legacy will continue to live on in our hearts and minds. Our thoughts and prayers are with Patti Ann and Conor and the entire McDonald family."  

The Rangers have had an award named in his honor that is "presented annually to the Ranger who, as chosen by the fans, "goes above and beyond the call of duty."

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Nov 6, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) against the Winnipeg Jets during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports (Danny Wild)
Nov 6, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) against the Winnipeg Jets during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports (Danny Wild)

The NHL has announced that Ryan McDonagh will represent the Rangers at the All-Star game at the end of this month in LA.

McDonagh is the only Ranger representative.

He was an All-Star last season as well.

Tags: Ryan McDonagh
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Jan 3, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) makes a save against the Buffalo Sabres during the first period at Madison Square Garden.  (Brad Penner (USA Today))
Jan 3, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) makes a save against the Buffalo Sabres during the first period at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner (USA Today))

Henrik Lundqvist wrote a letter to his 8-year-old self in The Players Tribune.

Lundqvist talks about how he became a goalie, growing up and playing with his brother Joel and coming to New York to join the Rangers.

On being a goalie, Henrik says "being a goalie is 90% mental. If you are stuck in your own thoughts or dwelling on negativity you won't have the mental focus necessary to compete and succeed. Nobody tells you this when you're a kid, but the best way to get in the right mindset is to start by having fun. The rest you'll figure out."

To read the entire letter, visit The Players Tribune.

Tags: Henrik Lundqvist

Dec 20, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers center Derek Stepan (21) prepares to take the opening face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 7-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Dec 20, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Rangers center Derek Stepan (21) prepares to take the opening face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 7-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

The Rangers rank 27th in faceoffs this season with a team percentage of 47.8%

Alain Vigneault said recently that the Rangers know they need to improve on faceoffs and that he hopes Mika Zibanejad will help when he returns.

Vigneault said that Zibanejad had a "real good" faceoff percentage when he was healthy.

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Dec 1, 2016; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal (18) against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)
Dec 1, 2016; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal (18) against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)

This season, Marc Staal is averaging 19:33 per game through the first 40 games of the season.

Staal has 3 goals and 3 assists this season and has 42 hits, 55 blocks, 12 takeaways and 35 giveaways.

He has missed the past two games with an upper body injury.

Tags: Marc Staal
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Nov 12, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Rangers right wing Michael Grabner (40) celebrates his goal against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)
Nov 12, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Rangers right wing Michael Grabner (40) celebrates his goal against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)

The NHL has announced that Michael Grabner has been named the NHL's First Star of the week.

From the league, "Grabner led the League with 5-2-7, including two game-winning goals, in three contests to propel the Rangers (28-13-1, 57 points) to a pair of victories. He was held off the scoresheet in a 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres Jan. 3, but potted the winning tallies - as well as consecutive multi-point and +4 performances - in the following two games: 2-1-3 in a 5-2 triumph over the Philadelphia Flyers Jan. 4 and 3-1-4 in a 5-4 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets Jan. 7. The latter included his fourth career hat trick and second of the season (also Oct. 30 vs. TBL) as well as his second career four-point outing (also Dec. 19, 2015 vs. LAK: 2-2-4 w/ TOR). The 29-year-old Villach, Austria, native shares sixth place in the NHL with 19 goals (19-8-27) in 41 appearances this season, his highest total since 2011-12 (20 G in 78 GP w/ NYI)."

Tags: Michael Grabner
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Jan 7, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Adam Clendening (4) celebrates a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the third period at Nationwide Arena. The Rangers defeated the Blue Jackets 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports (Russell LaBounty)
Jan 7, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Adam Clendening (4) celebrates a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the third period at Nationwide Arena. The Rangers defeated the Blue Jackets 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports (Russell LaBounty)

The NHL has changed the scoring on Adam Clendening's second goal on Saturday night, that tied the game at 4 for the Rangers, and have credited to Michael Grabner.

With the goal now attributed to Grabner it retroactively gives him a Hat Trick and 19 goals on the season.

Clendening fired a shot from the boards that beat Columbus goalie Curtis McElhinney. While Clendening was shooting the puck Grabner skated by and the puck apparently went off of him.

Tags: Adam Clendening, Michael Grabner
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Jan 4, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Rangers right wing Michael Grabner (40) scores a goal against Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas (3) and goalie Steve Mason (35) during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Rangers defeated the Flyers, 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Jan 4, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Rangers right wing Michael Grabner (40) scores a goal against Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas (3) and goalie Steve Mason (35) during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Rangers defeated the Flyers, 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

Larry Brooks writes in the NY Post today that the Rangers will need to find a way to protect current leading goal scorer Michael Grabner in the coming expansion draft.

Grabner has 18 goals this season and has one-year left after this at $1.65 million.

The Rangers will likely protect 7 forwards, 3 defensemen and Henrik Lundqvist with those forwards likely being Derek Stepan, Rick Nash, Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, Mats Zuccarello, JT Milller and Kevin Hayes.

Both Jimmy Vesey and Pavel Buchnevich are exempt from the draft and do not need to be protected.

Tags: Michael Grabner
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Nov 5, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; New York Rangers celebrate with goalie Antti Raanta (32) after defeating the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)
Nov 5, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; New York Rangers celebrate with goalie Antti Raanta (32) after defeating the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)

The Rangers are now in the league mandated five-day bye week that the NHLPA negotiated as part of accepting the All-Star format change to 3 on 3.

The Rangers are completely off this week though players on IR can still skate and be at the training facility.

Rick Nash and Mika Zibanejad are expected to skate this week and Pavel Buchnevich is playing in Hartford.

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Jan 7, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; New York Rangers right wing Michael Grabner (40) lifts the puck over Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Curtis McElhinney (30) for the game winning goal during the third period at Nationwide Arena. The Rangers defeated the Blue Jackets 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports (Russell LaBounty)
Jan 7, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; New York Rangers right wing Michael Grabner (40) lifts the puck over Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Curtis McElhinney (30) for the game winning goal during the third period at Nationwide Arena. The Rangers defeated the Blue Jackets 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports (Russell LaBounty)

Michael Grabner had two goals, an assist and a plus four rating in 15:10 on Saturday.

Grabner had 4 shots on goal, 1 shot attempt that missed the net, a takeaway and the game winning goal with 16 seconds left in the third.

Alain Vigneault said that the Rangers got an "outstanding performance" from Grabner and that he was able to use his speed offensively and defensively.

Grabner played 2:37 in the first, 4:41 in the second and 6:53 in the third.

Tags: Michael Grabner
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Jan 7, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Adam Clendening (4) takes a slap shot during the third period against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Rangers defeated the Blue Jackets 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports (Russell LaBounty)
Jan 7, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Adam Clendening (4) takes a slap shot during the third period against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Rangers defeated the Blue Jackets 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports (Russell LaBounty)

Adam Clendening had two goals on 4 shots on goal, 2 shot attempts that were blocked and 1 shot that missed the net.

Clendening was a minus one, had a giveaway and played 15:02 with 13:47 coming at even strength.

Alain Vigneault said after the game that he was happy for Clendening but happier for the team overall.

Tags: Adam Clendening
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