Two of the Rangers most important forwards---Ryan Callahan and Brian Boyle---did not take part in the team's practice Wednesday morning at the MSG Training Center. After a day off on Tuesday, Wednesday's practice was the club's last of this series against the Ottawa Senators---and would be the final one of the season should the Rangers lose Game 7 on home ice Thursday night.
Rangers head coach John Tortorella said of Callahan that "we gave him an extra day" of rest. The coach did not have anything else to add on the Rangers captain, nor did he discuss the status of Boyle, who suffered a concussion in Game 5 and has not played since. Boyle was present at the MSG Training Center on Wednesday, though not on the ice and not available to meet with the media.
Callahan and Boyle's teammates were excited after practice to discuss the series-deciding Game 7 which starts at 7:00 PM, the league finally announced, Thursday night at The Garden.
"We worked hard all saeson to get this opportunity, and we're excited to play it here at home in front of our fans," explained Brandon Dubinsky. "I think it's exciting. We got ourselves in a bit of a hole and were able to crawl out of it in Ottawa (winning Game 6) and find ourselves all square here. We're going to try and take the fans' energy and use it to our advantage."
Many on this current Rangers team---including Callahan, Dubinsky, Henrik Lundqvist, Dan Girardi, and Marc Staal---last played a Game 7 in 2009 when the Capitals defeated the Blueshirts 2-1 on a late Sergei Fedorov goal in Washington in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
However the Rangers are 3-0 all-time in Game Sevens at The Garden, including a pair of magical 1994 seventh game victories over the Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals and the Canucks in the Stanley Cup Finals. In addition, Tortorella, Brad Richards, and Ruslan Fedotenko all won a Stanley Cup Finals Game 7 together with Tampa Bay in 2004.
"You don't want to put too much pressure on yourself," said Ludnqvist, who has a 1.82 goals against average and a .942 save percentage in this series, so far. "You want to go out there and play and relax and enjoy it. It is a great moment, You work all year to be here. I think you have to see it as a great challenge, and then you feel more positive about it and don't feel as much pressure, and you just enjoy it."
Share your thoughts below on the Callahan and Boyle news, as well as the quotes from Lundqvist and Dubinsky.