New York Rangers get back on the ice; 3 players enter COVID protocol

Frank Curto
Nov 21, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren (55) celebrates his go-ahead goal with one second left against the Buffalo Sabres during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers returned to their training facility on Sunday for Covid testing and their first practice since the NHL paused the season last Tuesday.

Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider, and Igor Shesterkin were among the New York Rangers who participated in practice on Sunday afternoon as the team prepares to play in their first game, Wednesday at Florida, since a 3-2 shootout loss to the Golden Knights on Dec. 17.

The day started out with the club announcing that three players were placed in Covid Protocol.

Defensemen Patrik Nemeth, Ryan Lindgren, and goaltender Alexandar Georgiev were unavailable to practice with the team Sunday.

 NHL/NHLPA reach agreement with regards to COVID protocol

The NHL and NHLPA reached an agreement to bring back “Taxi Squads” on a temporary basis.

A brief breakdown of how the Taxi Squad will work for each team is below per an NHL media release.

The NHL and the NHLPA have agreed to the formation of a “Taxi Squad” in order to provide Clubs with readily-available Players who can be recalled to the NHL in order to minimize the chances that Clubs have to play shorthanded or games have to be postponed due to pandemic-related issues. Specifically:

* Clubs will be permitted to form Taxi Squads on a temporary basis beginning on Dec. 26, 2021 (subject to Holiday Roster Freeze restrictions), and lasting through the date of their final game prior to the scheduled dates for the 2022 All-Star Break. After each Club’s final game before the All-Star Break, its Taxi Squad will dissolve. Clubs may then recall or Reassign the Players that were assigned to the Taxi Squad.

* Clubs will be permitted to assign a maximum of six (6) Players to their Taxi Squad. All such assignments will be subject to Waiver requirements as applicable. No individual Player may spend more than twenty (20) cumulative days on the Taxi Squad during the temporary formation period.

* Players on Loan to the Taxi Squad will be permitted to travel and practice with the NHL Club, however, such Players can only play in an NHL Game if recalled and placed on the NHL Club’s Active Roster before such NHL Game (and no later than the appropriate 5:00 p.m. deadline). Although not all Players on Loan to the Taxi Squad are required to travel to all away games, it is recommended that a sufficient number of Taxi Squad Players travel with the Club to ensure an adequate number of Players are available for Recalls as may be necessary.

The Rangers will be able to utilize the Taxi Squad provided their AHL affiliate, The Hartford Wolf Pack, does not have multiple players in Covid Protocols.

The NHL postponed three more games scheduled for Tuesday, but as of Monday morning, the Blueshirts game a the Florida Panthers on Wednesday was still on the schedule.

A game at the Garden against the Detroit Red Wings was scheduled for Monday night but was postponed by the league late last week. Instead, the Rangers will have an 11 a.m. practice.

Notes from Practice

Once the Rangers hit the ice Sunday, the lines that were used in practice looked like this;

Kreider-Zibanejad-Kakko
Panarin-Strome-Hunt
Lafreniere-Chytil-Gauthier
Rooney-McKegg-Goodrow-Reaves

With Georgiev in protocol and the team waiting for Igor Shesterkin test to come back, the Rangers needed someone to put on the pads at the beginning of practice.

Enter team equipment manager Time Webb. Wearing old pads by former Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Webb took the ice and made his contribution to help get the team’s practice started.

Keith Kinkaid

Provided he has a negative Covid test expect Keith Kinkaid to be called back to the team and back up Shesterkin. Kinkaid played has played in one game this season defeating the Coyotes 3-2 in Arizona.  Kinkaid made 29 saves on 31 shots keeping the team in the game as they struggled early on.