Morning Skate: Cally In, Boyle Out?

The Rangers held a full-team morning skate at the MSG Training Center Thursday, and by the looks of the line combinations and who stayed on the ice later to work on conditioning it seems that team captain Ryan Callahan is ready to return to the lineup tonight against the Islanders while Brian Boyle is facing being a healthy scratch for the first time this season.

Since head coach John Tortorella does not meet with reporters until later in the afternoon at Madison Square Garden, there is no official word as of yet as to what the exact Rangers lineup will be this evening.

Callahan, who has missed three straight games with a shoulder injury suffered nine days ago against the Flyers, took part in a full contact practice on Wednesday, and then skated with rookies JT Miller and Chris Kreider Thursday morning. By time reporters were allowed into the dressing room after the morning skate, Callahan had departed the room, so he was unavailable to confirm whether or not he was making his return tonight.

"He's our leader emotionally on the ice and he's a big, big part of this club," alternate captain Marc Staal said of Callahan Thursday morning, before adding that he did not know if the team's captain was going to play against the Islanders.

Boyle did speak with reporters after staying on the ice with Stu Bickel for extra skating after the other players had finished. The 28 year-old center, who has one assist in nine games this season and who saw his ice-time slashed Tuesday night against the Devils, took full responsibility for his play so far this season.

"I just haven't played well enough," explained Boyle. "I am not cotributing enough or playing to where I can play. It's not for lack of effort,  but I need to make a lot more of an impact. I know I've got to be better."

Boyle has not been scratched since his first season with the Rangers in 2009-10. He played in all 82 regular-season games in each of the last two seasons after skating in 71 his first season on Broadway. After scoring a career-high 21 goals and notching a career-best 35 points in 2010-11, Boyle dipped to 11 goals and 26 points last year, though he remained a key member of the team's penalty killing unit, while also centering the team's third line.

"The whole body of work this year hasn't been there, and I don't know what it is," said Boyle. "There have been a whole lot of things that have affected my game negatively, and I need to find a way to figure out a way to get back playing well because I know that I can, and I have. I think (the coaches) want me to do well and coach me to do well. Now it's up to me to prove to them I can."


It appears that Dan Girardi will miss his second straight game Thursday. Girardi took to the ice with his teammates for the morning skate, but left the ice early, and a team spokesperson said the All Star defenseman remains "banged up" and is listed as day to day. Tonight would mark only the fourth game Girardi has missed in his entire five-plus year NHL career.

Steve Eminger likely is headed back into the lineup after being scratched the past four games, with Bickel the healthy defenseman scratch.

The defense pairs during the morning skate were:



Del Zotto-Gilroy


There could be a shake-up among the forward lines for the Rangers tonight, too. Based on the morning skate line rushes, here's what the Rangers used up front:





Share your thoughts below on the news surrounding Ryan Callahan, Brian Boyle, and Dan Girardi, as well as line combos, and tonight's tilt against the Islanders.