Tuesday Practice Report: Kreider "Fine"

After a day off on Monday the Rangers were back at practice Tuesday at the MSG Training Center with 21 players---and not the complete contingent of 22---taking part. However the missing player was not Chris Kreider---who was on the receiving end of a thunderous Brooks Orpik check on Sunday---but instead Arron Asham.

The veteran Asham did not skate due to a mild groin strain, with his place taken on the fourth line alongside Mike Rupp and Jeff Halpern by Stu Bickel. In turn Steve Eminger and Matt Gilroy split duties as the sixth defenseman, in Bickel's vacated spot, during practice. Following practice head coach John Tortorella said he was "not sure" if Asham would play Wednesday at The Garden against the Bruins.

As for Kreider, he said he was feeling "fine" and had zero aftereffects from the Orpik hit, which occurred late in the third period on Sunday. The rookie reported that he was not tested for a concussion and that the main issue was "my jaw tightened up...I have had jaw problems in the past, broke it in college, so there were some spasms after the hit".

Kreider echoed Tortorella's belief that Orpik's hit was a clean one, adding for humor's sake that Orpik---a fellow Boston College alum---"must have learned to hit like that at BC...he was well-coached!".

Kreider, who skated with Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan in practice Tuesday, also joked that the Orpik hit was "just one of many" welcome to the NHL moments for the rookie in Sunday's game against Pittsburgh.

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Callahan was wearing a pretty nasty shiner under his right eye on Tuesday, the result of an errant elbow to the face he received "sometime on Sunday". When told that he looked tougher now, Callahan smiled and replied, "like a hockey player!."

The Rangers captain also addressed the club's 0-2-0 start, pointing out that the team remains confident, but is also aware it needs better starts to games and a return to the hard-working identity of past seasons.

"There's nothing new here, it's stuff we've been talking about for the last three-four years," stated Callahan. "We just need to do it. We have pretty much the same group in here as last year, so now we just need to go out and do what is expected."

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Though Tortorella said not to read into any of the line combinations at practice and that "they could be totally different tomorrow", he did have Marian Gaborik-Brad Richards-and Rick Nash skating together on the top line Tuesday.

"Those are two of the best players in the league, so it's exciting to play with them," Nash said of Richards and Gaborik. "Saying that, though, we have to work hard at our chemistry and make sure we gel."

Here were the line combinations and defense pairings with Arron Asham missing from practice Tuesday:

Gaborik-Richards-Nash

Kreider-Stepan-Callahan

Hagelin-Boyle-Pyatt

Rupp-Halpern-Bickel

McDonagh-Girardi

Staal-Stralman

Del Zotto-Eminger/Gilroy

Share your thoughts below about these line combinations, the fact that Chris Kreider is 100 percent healthy, and the fact that Arron Asham had to miss practice on Tuesday.