The Rangers were back on the ice Wednesday, as the team is still in the middle of this stretch of infrequent games. In total, the Rangers only play four times over the course of two calendar weeks, really a blessing considering some of the injuries and forthcoming suspension many are waiting for.
Speaking of that, John Moore's hearing is scheduled for today at 3 p.m. EST. We're awaiting more details, including what if any supplemental discipline the Department of Player Safety decides upon.
What we know right now though, as far as how Moore's situation will effect potential Rangers moves is, for the time being, it won't. That's at least according to Alain Vigneault, who, without at least knowing the number of games Moore is getting suspended, said the team will forge ahead with the group of defensemen it has.
Vigneault said as of now he's happy with the d-men he has, and doesn't plan a call-up following Moore's suspension (meaning Kostka in). #NYR— Brett Cyrgalis (@BrettCyrgalis) October 29, 2014
So yes, that would appear to mean Michael Kostka will be a go Saturday against the Jets, again, unless Moore's suspension forces the Rangers hand into making another call-up.
We got a glimpse into how the might shuffle the Rangers defensive pairings (yet again), and also Vigneault's newest forward lines as the team took the ice on Wednesday.
#NYR lines went: 36-16-61, 20-26-63, 62-28-12, 15-13-14 (no Malone). D went with 27/18-5/8 alternating, 44-4.— Brett Cyrgalis (@BrettCyrgalis) October 29, 2014
For those of you unfamiliar with jersey numbers, here's a translated version of that depth chart:
Mats Zuccarello — Derick Brassard — Rick Nash
Chris Kreider — Martin St. Louis — Anthony Duclair
Carl Hagelin — Dominic Moore — Lee Stempniak
Tanner Glass — Kevin Hayes — Chris Mueller
Ryan McDonagh — Marc Staal
Dan Girardi — Kevin Klein
Matt Hunwick — Michael Kostka
Again, this is what everything looks like on Wednesday afternoon, pre-Moore suspension, and with two more days separating the Rangers and their next game. Then, things really get interesting, because...
Derek Stepan coming closer to return
If you've correctly labeled your calendar, you'll know that Derek Stepan is eligible to return from long-term injured reserve after this Saturday's game against the Jets, the 10th Stepan will have missed. Vigneault also addressed the situation surrounding his injured center on Wednesday.
AV: Derek Stepan expected to practice in next four to seven days, no setbacks, looks as if he will be off LTIR next week— Steve Zipay (@stevezipay) October 29, 2014
As far as a timetable, it's still tough to really pin down a date for Stepan's regular season debut, especially considering he hasn't participated in a full practice. After the Rangers play the Jets, beginning the following Monday, they'll play four games in seven days.
In trying to gage where exactly Stepan is in terms of his recovery, there's a pertinent section to the CBA that references player's practice participation and LTIR.
Players on the Injured Reserve List may attend team meetings, travel with the Club (at the Club's option) and participate in practice sessions with other Players on the Club's Active Roster.
So if Stepan was healthy enough, he'd already be practicing. Kind of difficult to envision him playing in that first eligible return date this Monday against St. Louis. But who knows.
Again, as soon as we have the info about Moore's suspension, we'll be updating.