It was a real sight for sore eyes when the Rangers took to the ice Wednesday at Madison Square Garden for the team's morning skate, with Game Four against the Pittsburgh Penguins roughly eight hours away. Chris Kreider, who has not played since March 24th due to hand surgery, shed his yellow non-contact jersey and took part in the full morning skate with his teammates, the first time he has done so since the surgery.
After the skate head coach Alain Vigneault said that Kreider "has been medically cleared, his fracture has now healed, so at this stage I'd say he's day-to-day." When pressed as to whether or not Kreider could return to the lineup for Game Four this evening, Vigneault said only that he had yet to speak with Kreider.
"I haven't talked to him, and today was his first day on the ice with his teammates," stated Vigneault. "Right now he's day-to-day."
Kreider spoke with reporters following the morning skate for the first time since undergoing the surgery, and said that now he can see "the light at the end of the tunnel." Kreider scored 17 goals and totaled 37 points in 66 games with the Rangers this past season and has been missed throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"Obviously I want to be out there at the time of the year," said Kreider, who has six goals in 26 career playoff games, including three game-winners. "It's not easy, but we have an incredible squad and they've done an extremely good job up until this point, and continue to do a very good job."
As has become his custom during the playoffs, Vigneault will not reveal his lineup until right before game time. Prior to Game Three, for example, he kept it mum that he planned on putting three pairs of fresh legs into the lineup, ultimately inserting Raphael Diaz, J.T. Miller, and Jesper Fast.