Found December 01, 2013 on
Chris Kreider is 22 years old, has yet to play a full season in the NHL, and his professional career has already come full-circle. The gifted winger made his NHL debut two seasons ago, storming onto the scene for the Rangers in the midst of the 2012 playoffs and potting five goals in 17 games. It was then that former Rangers coach John Tortorella resolved to “stay out of his way”, trusting the 20-year-old’s instincts on the ice. Kreider celebrates the first of three goals against the Canucks on Saturday afternoon. But over the next year, Tortorella did just the opposite. Kreider was called up and sent down last season as if riding a seesaw, his footing never firm even when his play was. He was toyed with like a rabbit in the lab, his coach giving him big minutes one night and then benching him the next. Kreider claims to have learned a lot from Tortorella, and we’ll take his word for that. But it’s hard to imagine that his most valuable takeaway wasn’t learning how to find his way from New York City to Hartford. By the time Glen Sather had shown Tortorella to the door last spring, Kreider had turned from a Sure Thing into an enigma. When he was cut from the team out of training camp this season, the disappointment mounted. His future seemed to be slipping through his team’s fingers, the organization’s big investment spiraling down the drain. And it was hard not to think back to Tortorella, who seemed to have stunted the kid’s growth with erratic decisions and mixed messages. The result was a confident forward playing tentatively, unsure of his role and unsure of his stability. But Kreider played well enough in Hartford this fall to earn another stint with the Blueshirts. And Alain Vigneault, Tortorella’s replacement, has let the kid loose, doing exactly what Tortorella himself vowed to do: stay out of his way. The result now is a confident forward playing aggressively, his game moving north-south rather than east-west. Saturday afternoon at The Garden, Kreider got a chance to show his old coach just how much he’s grown. And like his opportunity with the Rangers this October, he certainly made the most of it. Against Tortorella’s Canucks, Kreider scored twice in the first and then once more in the third for his first career NHL hat trick. He’s a soft-spoken kid, not inclined to revel in the justice of the day, so the crowd took care of it for him. Through the second and the third, the cheers were frisky: “That’s-for-you-Torts!!” It was ironic, only because Tortorella was the first to give Kreider a shot in the NHL. And after pushing his career to the ropes, he watched helplessly as Kreider picked his new team apart. If it’s any consolation for Tortorella (and it isn’t), the Canucks aren’t the first to feel the sting of Kreider’s bite. In the 20 games he has played thus far, Kreider has six goals and 16 points, while playing alongside some of the team’s best players. And unlike last season, when he seemed to defer to the guys around him, Kreider has played with his linemates rather than next to them. An easy way to explain his turnaround? He’s simply more involved. Kreider has thrust himself into the action when given the chance, and thus the chances have grown. If 16 points attest to his talent, 14 penalty minutes speak to his assertiveness. Kreider, for the first time in his career, is playing with some snarl. Finally, all at once, his gifts have materialized. He is using his speed to back up opponents. He is using his wrist shot – and what a wicked wrist shot it is – to fire rubber on goal from just about anywhere on the ice. He is using his strength to win one-on-one battles. And he’s using his size to stand up for his teammates. It all goes back to confidence, which Kreider, for the first time in a year and a half, seems to have in high supply. And that can be credited to Vigneault, who has helped Kreider believe in himself simply by letting him play. He’ll continue to unleash his big forward, who looks ready to begin his career in earnest for the second time. He’s back where he started, 19 months ago, but this time the reins are off.

Kreider fuels Rangers' rout in Tortorella return

Chris Kreider scored three goals, and Rick Nash added a goal and two assists as the New York Rangers spoiled the return of former coach John Tortorella by rolling to a 5-2 victory over his Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. Kreider netted two in the first period for his first NHL multigoal game, and finished his hat trick by tipping in Anton Stralman's shot with his back to the...

Kreider's hat trick fuels Rangers' rout in Tortorella's return to MSG

Chris Kreider scored three goals, and Rick Nash added a goal and two assists as the New York Rangers spoiled the return of former coach John Tortorella by rolling to a 5-2 victory over his Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. Kreider netted two in the first period for his first NHL multigoal game, and finished his hat trick by tipping in Anton Stralman's shot with his back to the...

Talbot starts; Pyatt, Moore scratched

Per Pat Leonard, it looks like Taylor Pyatt and John Moore will be healthy scratches for the second straight game. AV is a coach that doesn’t like to change things up following a win, so this is relatively unexpected. Also per Leonard, Cam Talbot will start tonight in net. This will be the first time Talbot starts two straight games. Talbot has not allowed more than two goals in...

Talbot shines in Garden debut as Rangers roll over Canucks

While John Tortorella dominated discussions in his return to Madison Square Garden, Rangers goalie Cam Talbot quietly made his home debut. Standing in an unusual spot behind the visitor’s bench, Tortorella couldn’t do much but quietly watch as the rookie goaltender dominated the former coach’s new team — as he has most teams this season — making 35 saves to help the Rangers...

John Tortorella Says He Wants to ‘Kick Their and Get Outta Here,’ About Return to Madison Square Garden Against Rangers

John Tortorella‘s time with the New York Rangers was a bit tense, to say the least, so all eyes will be trained on Madison Square Garden on Saturday night when Torts returns to the Garden at the helm of the Vancouver Canucks. The split was less than amicable, but Tortorella did take some positives away from his time coaching the Rangers. All history will be thrown out the window...

A simple goalie controversy answer: There is none

Scott Levy, Getty Images If you read some of the papers this morning, then there is quite a bit going on about a goalie controversy here in New York. It was solidified even more when coach Alain Vigneault announced that Cam Talbot is the starter for tonight’s game against Winnipeg. Talbot has been phenomenal in his first seven starts, and could push himself into the Calder conversation...

Game 27: Torts returns to MSG

The Canucks come to town for the first of two regular season meetings with the Rangers (the next game is on April Fools’ Day in Van). What is sure to be a media circus today with a lot of distracting questions and baiting for jabs, hopefully the Rangers can see past the odd narrative and just go about their business to get two points. They play 11 of their next 12 games at MSG...

What’s in Store From 1993-94? Leetch, Rangers Defeat Devils in Battle of the Hudson

November 30th, 1993: Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, NJ:  The Rangers took on their cross river rivals for the second time this season, the first in the United States.  The Rangers defeated the Devils 4-1 on Halloween in a neutral site game played in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where the Rangers were the home team.  Now the Devils were […]

Cam Talbot pushes for playing time New York

No, the New York Rangers don’t have a goaltending controversy. Veteran Henrik Lundqvist still reigns as King of Madison Square Garden in the final year of his contract.But the New York Post notes that Cam Talbot has gone 6-0 with a 1.48 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage in his six starts since Oct. 26. By contrast, Lundqvist is 2-5 with a 2.58 GAA and .917 save percentage...

The Rangers Going With Talbot In Goal Tonight

from Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News, Cam Talbot has not dethroned Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers say, but Alain Vigneault's decision to start Talbot Monday night for the second straight game has the unmistakable makings of a potential goalie controversy at 33rd and 7th. "Cam's playing extremely well right now," Vigneault said at the Garden before...

Game 28: December is an easy month, now get wins

Photo Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports The Rangers kick off December with Winnipeg coming to town. This game starts the first of 10 11 at home, with just 4 of them coming against teams in the playoffs. If there was ever a time to make a run, now is that time. With some key wins, the Rangers could really put some distance between themselves and the bottom-five teams in the...

Same old story: Win puck possession battle, lose game

Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images The Rangers seem to make a habit of winning the puck possession game, but losing the actual game. Usually I try to put a silver lining on it, since it’s been proven that puck possession leads to wins. Eventually the Rangers will get wins, but this is frustrating to watch. Ondrej Pavelec had a pretty good game, keeping the game tied or keeping...

Video- Kevin Bieksa Gets His Money’s Worth

On the losing end of a 5-2 score to the New York Rangers, Bieksa fought Brian Boyle and Boyle's helmet too. Both received 5 for fighting at the 20 minute mark of the 3rd period.

One size does not fit all when it comes to player development

Courtesy of Blueshirts United There’s an old cliche that lingers around front offices and rinks throughout North America that ‘if you’re good enough, you’ll make it no matter what’. It’s a cliche that lives on because so to do the skeptics and excuses that often attach to certain players who don’t live up to expectations. All too often fans and media members are quick...
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