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Game 31: NYR-SJ, Rangers look to get back to winning ways, Kravtsov back...

December 12, 2019, 3:33 PM ET [128 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Rangers play the third game of thir four-game West Coast road trip, taking on the Sharks tonight. San Jose has a new face behind the bench, as Bob Boughner makes his coaching debut following the firing of Pete DeBoer yesterday. Vitali Kravtsov is reportedly heading back to New York, who face Anaheim at 4pm Cali time on Saturday.

Vitali Kravtsov is back:


GM Jeff Gorton was instrumental in bring the former ninth overall pick in 2018 back to the States. Kravtsov’s trip back to Russia certainly did not pan out like he or Traktor expected. From what we heard and interpreted, Kravtsov was still struggling from his initial demotion to Hartford and failed to regain the confidence he showed in camp.

The organization’s job now is to help build Kravtsov back up. Have Hartford coach Kris Knoblauch use him on a scoring line, likely with Lias Andersson. Show Kravtsov how valuable he is to the Rangers and what they believe he can become in the future. His departure from the US and then subsequent similar issues in Russia are no doubt concerning. But part of that can be explained by youth and maybe his first bout of doubt as his talent level, ability to play at this level and struggles away from home, despite going back home shortly thereafter. If this pattern shows no signs of abatement, the concerns level gets ratcheted up.

In practice today, coach David Quinn appeared to juggle the lines again with the listing taken from Colin Stephenson’s tweet based on jersey colors. Brendan Lemieux was not on the ice, as he was a banged up a bit versus Los Angeles and is a game-time decision. If he is out, Michael Haley, see lines below, will opt back in. Alexandar Georgiev will be between the pipes.

Kreider-Zibanejad-Buchnevich
Panarin-Strome-Kakko
Fast-Chytil-McKegg
Haley-Howden-Smith

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