Monday Morning Skate: Carcillo Arrives, But Won't Play Tonight

Jim Cerny
BlueshirtsUnited.com

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When the Rangers took their morning skate at the MSG Training Center on Monday, there was a new face on the ice, one wearing a white helmet with the No. 13 affixed to it. Rugged winger Daniel Carcillo, acquired in a trade Saturday from the Los Angeles Kings, was spending his first day on the ice with his new teammates and coaches, though he will not be in the lineup this evening when the Rangers host the Columbus Blue Jackets at Madison Square Garden.

Afterwards Carcillo joked that he had been scanning his new team's roster to make sure there weren't any Rangers "who hate me" from his previous time playing with the Blueshirts big rival, the Philadelphia Flyers, before expressing how pleased he was with the trade to New York.

"I was kind of shocked, but I welcome it," Carcillo said of the trade. "This is a good place to be. Great team. Young. It's a great opportunity to bring whatever I can with leadership and experience, and help in any way they want me to."

Carcillo last played on December 23rd, so his recent inactivity, coupled with a long flight from the west coast and a time change, left him reeling a little bit on Sunday, and even still on Monday. He acknowledged that no matter how hungry he is to get in the lineup, it was for the best that he is not playing tonight against the Blue Jackets. In addition Carcillo stated that with the team coming off a 7-1 win Saturday night in Toronto, now was not the time to change the lineup.

In 26 games with the Kings this season Carcillo had one goal, one assist, and 57 penalty minutes, raising his career total to 1,136 penalty minutes in 359 games. After spending much of the past two seasons hurt---including last year when he was a member of the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks--Carcillo said he is once again healthy this season and is excited about his new opportunity.

"My time in Chicago was hard because of the injuries and trying to come back from that, but the organization was great to me and obviously winning was a great experience," explained Carcillo, whose Rangers skate in Chicago on Wednesday night. "This year I started feeling like myself again. It took me a few years, so that's encouraging."

Of playing on the home side now at Madison Square Garden, Carcillo said, "I always loved playing here", before explaining that just last week he told his girlfriend that MSG was his favorite building to play in. "There have been quite a few omens the past couple weeks."

Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault once again said that picking up Carcillo, especially with Derek Dorsett sidelined up to six weeks with a broken right fibula, is a low-risk move and that he is hoping the soon-to-be 28 year-old will help the Blueshirts moving forward.

"He brings an energy level..a physical dimension that I think teams need," Vigneault said of Carcillo. "You need that greasy type player that brings that emotion and energy and grinding game to the forefront. I think Dan brings that. He's done it in the past, and when we do need him I think he'll be a good force for us."

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The only lineup change from Saturday will be in goal where Henrik Lundqvist is back in after watching Cam Talbot be the beneficiary of a season-high seven goals in Toronto. In 31 games this season Lundqvist is 12-16-2 with two shutouts, a 2.78 goals against average and .905 save percentage. After winning two starts in a row down in Florida, Lundqvist was last between the pipes for Friday's 5-2 loss in Pittsburgh.

The rest of the lineup remains intact two days after the 15 of 18 skaters recorded at least one point in the 7-1 victory over the Maple Leafs, and all 18 skaters notched at least one shot on goal.

"Our overall game, both offensively and defensively through four lines, was really good (Saturday)," Vigneault stated when announcing that there would be no changes to the Ranger lineup tonight.

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Rangers captain Ryan Callahan not only returned to the lineup from his sprained knee quicker than expected late last week, but he hopped right into the fire by playing back to back nights in Pittsburgh and Toronto. Callahan played 14:42 against the Penguins and 15:03 when he recorded three shots on goal and picked up an assist against the Maple Leafs.

"It was a tough way to jump right back in with back-to-back games," said a smiling Callahan following Monday's morning skate. "I felt a lot better than I thought I would in Toronto, and I feel good today. It's a good response."