Happy Monday folks. And happy in the sense that, after a very long waiting period, the Rangers will finally play their first home game of the season tonight in Madison Square Garden. After opening up this season on a nine-game road trip to accommodate finishing renovations on the world's most famous arena, the Rangers will finally get to play a home game. Of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League, the Rangers are the last to play their first home game. Suffice to say, under that condition, complimented by the injuries the Rangers have suffered early in the season, it seems like as good a time as any for the Rangers to finally return to home ice. And with that rant over, here are your morning notes.
It's the good news that keeps on giving! Henrik Lundqvist, after taking a two-game leave recovering from an undisclosed "minor injury" declared himself "100 percent healthy" and will start tonight's home opener. [Blueshirt Banter]
After getting benched for the Flyers game last Thursday, Mats Zuccarello responded by scoring a goal in Saturday night's win against the Red Wings. [Blueshirts Blog] In other news, Ryan McDonagh has moved up to the top power play unit.
Speaking of Saturday night, if you missed it, Marc Staal couldn't have said it any better... "3-6 sounds a lot better than 2-7." The Rangers secured a big, overtime win in Detroit to close out their road trip, capped off by a crucial game-winning-goal from Derek Brassard. [NHL]
Since being recalled from Hartford, Chris Kreider has been showing the kind of promise the Rangers brass has been banking on. Now, Alain Vigneault is wondering if he can keep it up. [New York Post]
Rangers prospect Brady Skjei is working on a lot of things at Minnesota to prepare him for a professional career. Count goal celebrations as something he still needs to perfect. [YouTube... and @CJZero]
In what can at the very least be described as an upgrade in talent, the New York Islanders acquired Thomas Vanek from the Buffalo Sabres, in a move that shipped off Matt Moulson and draft picks. [ESPN NY]