LeNeveu Back, with NHL Contract in Hand

Today saw David LeNeveu return to Wolf Pack practice, which was moved back two hours from its usual 10 AM start time, due to the fact that LeNeveu did not clear waivers until noon.

It had been a whirlwind 24 hours or so for the veteran goaltender, who found out Tuesday afternoon that he was headed to New York to back up Cam Talbot in that night’s Ranger game at Madison Square Garden against the Islanders.  Henrik Lundqvist was too ill to dress for the game, and even if the Rangers had wanted to go the route of bringing one of their NHL-contracted goaltenders, Jason Missiaen or Scott Stajcer, up from the ECHL, that was rendered impossible by the snowstorm that was covering the Northeast.

So the Rangers tore up LeNeveu’s AHL contract with the Wolf Pack, which he had only signed the previous Tuesday, and replaced it with an NHL deal.  That meant that in a span of less than two months, LeNeveu had gone from being a guy who was home in British Columbia without a place to play, to having an NHL contract, and presumably the status as the third goaltender in the organization, with the Rangers.

David LeNeveu, in warmups before Tuesday night's Ranger/Islander game at Madison Square Garden (Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)

David LeNeveu, in warmups before Tuesday night’s Ranger/Islander game at Madison Square Garden (Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)

“It felt good, because the decisions I made at the end of last season were directed at my goal of being back in the NHL,” LeNeveu said after today’s practice.  “And it was not the way, maybe, that we envisioned doing it, but at the end of the day, it turns out that things work in mysterious ways and it worked out right for us.  Looking back, I’m glad we did what we did, it just took a more circular route than I think I thought it was going to take, but at the end of the day, that was it.

“It was nice going up there and being a backup for a night, I enjoyed myself, but at the same time, the end goal is to stick.  So one step at a time, and I’ve got to do my job down here now.”

Thus far, those job duties have consisted of starting assignments in the Wolf Pack’s last two games, a 4-2 win at Adirondack Friday night and a 5-1 defeat in Bridgeport Sunday.

“I felt I was playing pretty well,” LeNeveu responded, when asked how he thought the first two games went.  “Everybody made some mistakes, I made some mistakes, in that second game.  That’s the way hockey goes, but it’s only two games.  We’ve got a long road ahead of us here still, so we’re looking forward to playing well down the stretch.”

Also on the goaltending, and things more important, front, Dov Grumet-Morris and wife Rachel finally welcomed their second child into the world on Sunday.  Dov and Rachel now have two daughters, and Dov told me that the plan is for Rachel and the girls to pull up stakes and join Dov in Hartford as soon as the doctors give the OK for the new baby to travel.

Stu Bickel (lower-body injury) remained off skates at today’s practice, but Justin Vaive looks like he is back to full participation, and Brendon Nash is back practicing as well.  Shawn O’Donnell took the full practice today, but without contact.


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