Alexis Lafreniere demoted to Rangers’ fourth line in practice

1 year ago 112

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — In Gerard Gallant’s latest effort to get much retired of Alexis Lafreniere, the Rangers caput manager demoted him to the 4th enactment during signifier Thursday astatine the University of British Columbia. 

“He’s a young kid, we privation him to bash amended and marque definite he’s moving hard,” Gallant said earlier the Rangers traveled to Edmonton aboriginal Thursday. “We chatted with the kid the different day, you spell retired determination and enactment hard and spot what happens. He wants to bash amended and we privation a small spot much from him too. That’s connected some sides of the puck. 

“He’s a bully kid and I ever travel backmost to him being young, but we got to turn up a small spot and you got to play a mature game.” 

After starting the play connected the apical enactment adjacent to Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, Lafreniere ran into a mates of unsmooth games that led to the creation of the 3rd unit with Filip Chytil and Sammy Blais. In the Rangers’ lopsided nonaccomplishment to the Flames connected Oct. 25, Gallant flipped Lafreniere with Julien Gauthier and past singled out the erstwhile first-overall pick, saying helium needed much from him. 

Alexis Lafreniere's failed clearance handed the Canucks a game-tying extremity   connected  Tuesday.Alexis Lafreniere’s failed clearance handed the Canucks a game-tying extremity connected Tuesday.Getty Images

Lafreniere’s astir caller gaffe came successful the 3rd play against the Canucks connected Tuesday, erstwhile his failed clearing effort led to Vancouver’s game-tying extremity from Vasily Podkolzin that yet forced overtime and allowed the Canucks to implicit their comeback. 

There’s an statement to beryllium made that Lafreniere’s 4 points successful 10 games (three goals, 1 assist) — including 2 game-winning goals — aren’t numbers worthy panicking over. But it’s wide Gallant believes helium tin get much retired of Lafreniere. 

Asked if the intent of putting Lafreniere connected the 4th enactment was to nonstop him a message, Gallant, successful short, said no. 

“No, it’s astir america trying to triumph games and putting him successful the champion spot available,” helium said. “Not truly a message, coaches marque up lines each day. If helium takes it arsenic a message, that’s great.”

Ryan Reaves remains “day-to-day” with an undisclosed lower-body injury, but Gallant said he’s inactive waiting to perceive from the grooming unit connected whether helium is bully to play. 

In bid for Reaves to beryllium activated disconnected injured reserve, the Rangers volition person to marque a corresponding roster move. That could travel successful the signifier of demoting Greg McKegg (or perchance different player) to AHL Hartford. If McKegg goes down to the Wolf Pack, Kevin Rooney would apt slot backmost successful arsenic the fourth-line center.