The Rangers took part in an optional morning skate Monday at Scotiabank Place as workers busied themselves placing white towels on every seat in the arena, preparing it for a "white out" at tonight's Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Rangers and Senators.
Henrik Lundqvist, who did not practice Sunday, did take part in the morning skate, as did Carl Hagelin, who will not play tonight after being suspended three games by the league yesterday. Wingers John Scott and Chris Kreider both skated, as well, though John Tortorella would not say which of those two would replace Hagelin in the Rangers' lineup this evening.
Neither Tortorella nor his players would address Hagelin's suspension nor that of Ottawa's Matt Carkner, though the Rangers head coach did say of the popular Swedish rookie, "He's been a good player for us...he brings us speed, chases down pucks...he's been real good since we brought him up (from the minors)."
Veteran winger Mike Rupp said after the skate that he was "looking forward to playing Game Three" and that "we're ready to ignore all of this circus stuff."
Meanwhile Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson took part in the Senators morning skate, and said afterwards that he had sustained a concussion when elbowed by Hagelin on Saturday night. However Alfredsson said he was feeling better and that "game time we will decide" if he can play this evening.
Alfredsson also had this to say about Hagelin, "Carl is not that kind of player, but in the intensity of a playoff game, things happen. This is one thing the league is preaching, no blows to the head. But things happen, it's playoff hockey."
Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said that former Ranger Matt Gilroy would return to the Sens lineup this evening in the place of the suspended Carkner. He also added that "I expect (the physical play) to be very similar and to go up (as the series progresses)."