Kreider Goes down, Miller Moves up

Action Shot for Blog - 03-26-14 - MillerJ.T. Miller was on the verge of being recalled by the Rangers Monday morning, when several Rangers were ailing from a flu bug prior to that night’s home game against the Phoenix Coyotes, but as it would turn out, Miller was not needed, as both Martin St. Louis and Derek Stepan were able to suit up.

Today, however, Miller did head to the NHL, and word is he will be in the Ranger lineup for tonight’s huge Metropolitan Division game against Philadelphia at Madison Square Garden.  That is because Chris Kreider has been lost to the parent club, at least for long enough that he will not go on the four-game western road trip that follows tonight’s game.  Kreider suffered a hand injury in Friday’s 3-1 win in Columbus, a problem that he was apparently able to play through for the last three games, but which now has doctors worried that continuing to play would risk much more serious problems.

According to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News, the decision to recall Miller was not made until it was determined that Dan Carcillo was not going to be able to play tonight, due to stomach flu.  If that is true, then Miller might not necessarily be assured of staying up for as long as Kreider is out, but it was sure sounding like Miller was going on the road trip.  Either way, I would imagine that the Ranger coaches are eager to get another look at the organization’s 2011 first-round pick, after his latest stint with the Wolf Pack produced 11 points and a +6 in nine games.

“It’s about learning the game with and without the puck,” Ranger head coach Alain Vigneault said to the New York media this morning. “I think the coaches (in Hartford) have done a real good job of helping him understand what to do when he doesn’t have the puck. We know he’s got a real good skill set, but he needs to be dependable. … He’s been playing real well offensively and generated some real good chances. They’re real happy with his progression.”

The callup of Miller was not an emergency recall, so the big club would not have to send him back if they wanted to put Carcillo in the lineup during the western swing.

The Wolf Pack should have enough bodies on the roster to ice a full lineup without Miller, as Kyle Beach was a healthy scratch the last two games, and Justin Vaive is ready to return from the injured list, after missing the last 12 games.  The loss of Miller costs the Pack its top-line center, though, and its half-wall guy on the first power play, and it will be interesting to see who assumes those roles.  Nick Latta, who has been centering the fourth line between Kyle Jean and Shawn O’Donnell, could see his responsibilities expanded, and Jean could move back to the middle after playing mostly wing since his return from Greenville 12 games ago.

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