The New York Rangers are holding break-up day this afternoon at their training center up in Greenburgh, and as usual, they are speaking with the media for one final time before departing their separate ways for the summer.
According to various media sources, several Rangers admitted to playing through injuries during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. One of those players was Brandon Prust, who not only fought through the postseason with an injury, but for a good chunk of the regular season as well. Prust tore a tendon in his ring finger in a fight with Zenon Konopka of the Ottawa Senators in January, and will now undergo surgery to get it healed with the season done and over with.
On one hand, it's not surprising to hear that Prust played through that for a good five months, but on the other, it really speaks to the warrior that this guy is. Prust's three-year contract expires on July 1 of this summer, and I don't think there's much doubt that he will be getting a call from GM Glen Sather sooner rather than later about re-signing.
Also, somewhat unexpected, Marian Gaborik also revealed that he played through an injury during the playoffs, but would not expand with details. He did mention, however, that whatever it is that he injured may require a procedure to fix during the offseason. There's no telling when exactly he first suffered the injury, but it could explain his lack of speed repeatedly noted in the postseason. Maybe not, but I'm just throwing it out there.
Brandon Dubinsky, too, returned much earlier than he needed in order for his high ankle sprain to fully heal. In fact, he returned several weeks early, which certainly played a part in how slow he was upon getting back into the lineup.
Here are a variety of quotes from several players during break-up day, courtesy of Rangers Report...
Ryan Callahan on losing: “It’s tough. Any time you’re that’s close to the ultimate prize and what you work for all year, it’s hard. No matter how many days there’s been in between it, it’s still as hard as it was after the game.”
* Callahan also said claimed that he was not injured during the playoffs.
Henrik Lundqvist on keeping his career goal: “Obviously, I’m just hoping one day that I’m going to lift that Cup. That’s my goal. That’s my dream. I’m going to keep working as hard as I can to help this club to accomplish that.”
Brad Richards on his first year in NY: “I had a lot of fun,” he said. “It was definitely a new experience playing in this city. Being a Ranger is everything I thought it would be — playing in Madison Square Garden. I enjoyed a lot of it. I think mentally it was a little different than most years coming in. I definitely gained a lot of experience and will be better for it now. I had a lot of fun. I had a chance to win. I got that taste back.”
Dan Girardi on team's progress: “I don’t think there’s much to change,” Girardi said. “It’s a pretty successful season from where we stand. Obviously, we want to still be playing now, but from where we came from last year to this year I think it’s a huge step for us. We’ll all get better from the experience we gained from this year.”
Michael Del Zotto on experience for young core: "Great. It's a new experience for all of us, and we've talked about it since day one that there was a lot of young guys here. To be able to go through the process together it helps having so many other guys going through the same ups and downs."
Gaborik on elimination: "Frustrating. It's tough, just ending like that in overtime. It's different if you could see it coming. It was a tough one to swallow and it's gonna be with us until we realize it's over. We just have to learn from it and take what we learned into next year."
Chris Kreider on decision to sign out of college: "Very happy. It was definitely the right decision."
Derek Stepan on playoff performance: "I don't think I was as sharp as I could've been."
Mats Zuccarello: "I love being a New York Ranger...but I can't play 10 games. That's not enough for me."