Following their thrilling overtime win Sunday night over the Islanders, the Rangers were right back on the ice Monday afternoon at the MSG Training Center to prepare for tomorrow's home match against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Neither Ryan Callahan nor Michael Del Zotto participated in practice Monday. Callahan, who also missed Sunday's game, has a sore foot, while Del Zotto, who has sat out the last two games, remains sidelined with a sore hip. Both players are listed as day-to-day, and will be evaluated again tomorrow to decide whether or not they can face the Hurricanes.
Following practice Rangers head coach John Tortorella discussed how his club is still in "a great growing period", despite the fact that last night's victory helped the Blueshirts equal last season's point total of 93---with still 14 games remaining on the 2011-12 schedule. And in discussing how a "number have players have overachieved" this season, Tortorella heaped praise on rookie defenseman Stu Bickel.
"Bic has grown, just look at the spots we're putting him in on the ice right now," Tortorella said of Bickel, who has appeared in 37 games while totaling eight points and 81 penalty minutes. "No one expected that. But give the player credit. To him it's not a surprise that he's playing in the National Hockey League. That's how he feels about himself. So give him credit as far as his mental toughness."
When asked about the play of Mats Zuccarello, who was recalled from the minors yesterday and registered an assist in nearly 11 minutes of ice time Sunday night, Tortorella was equally as pleased.
"I thought he brought something we know he has, the creativity within the game," Tortorella said of Zuccarello, 24. "He's very well-liked in the locker room. And he's very well-respected in our locker room. And he brings that creativity, the way he sees the ice. It's a gift that he has. I thought he brought that right to the forefront last night."
When pressed by a Norwegian reporter what the future holds for Zuccarello, Tortorella would not guarantee anything, but did say, "I believe he'll be in the lineup (Tuesday). We'll find some areas for him."
Share your thoughts below on Zuccarello, Bickel, and the injuries to Callahan and Del Zotto.