NEW YORK - Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards need to improve their "battle level," according to New York Rangers coach John Tortorella -- hence the reason for moving captain Ryan Callahan onto their line for Thursday night's game against the New York Islanders.
Tortorella was frank about the play of his two of his biggest stars this season, especially the skating of Gaborik.
"He needs to help them get the puck because I don't think those two guys are doing a good enough job getting the puck," Tortorella said. "It certainly doesn't take the onus off of them, but I just want to see what that looks like.
"They need to play better."
Tortorella said he didn't like Callahan with Richards last season, but the two played together for a lengthy stretch in 2011-12. In Gaborik's case, Tortorella wants to see him emulate another speedy winger on his club - Carl Hagelin.
"It's a huge part of his game," Tortorella said of Gaborik's speed. "You look at Hagelin. He's second on our team - we keep this stat offensively and defensively and you have a plus/minus, basically (with scoring chances for and against) - he's second behind [Rick] Nash as far as his plus/minus. Hags is at like plus-27, Nash is at plus-31, and Hags hasn't made a whole lot of passes. I'm not criticizing him -- he's done it with his legs. He creates havoc with his legs.
"I just don't understand why Gabby can't do that. I know they're a little different-type players. But Gabby needs to bring that into his game. And he will."
It should also be noted that Tortorella referred to Derek Stepan as the team's first-line center, and his 25:14 of ice time in Tuesday's 4-3 shootout victory in Boston backs up that sentiment; Richards played 19:19.
Tortorella also said making Chris Kreider a healthy scratch and bringing Brian Boyle back into the lineup after sitting him for three games wasn't because Kreider played poorly, but he hadn't done enough good things of late. Rookie J.T. Miller will be moved to the wing with Boyle centering the third line in an effort to lessen the responsibilities on the 19-year-old in his own zone.
Here's what the Rangers' lines will look like as they go for their fourth win in a row.
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"All indications are that Kesler is ready to go," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said, according to the team's official Twitter feed.
"It's a line that can bring good size with physical presence and good puck pursuit," Vigneault said.
Schneider allowed one goal in each of his previous two starts, Feb. 7 against the Minnesota Wild and Feb. 9 against the Calgary Flames, before Roberto Luongo got the start and won his fourth straight, also allowing a single goal in Tuesday's win over the Wild.
Vancouver has won six in a row.
In six games with the Stars, Oleksiak had one assist while averaging 15:40 of ice time per game.
The 14th pick of the 2011 NHL Draft, Oleksiak led the Texas Stars with 20 assists and also had 23 points in 43 games. He also played in the 2013 AHL All-Star Game.
Zubrus had one goal and four points in nine games this season.
In his absence, rookie Stefan Matteau has been playing on the top line with Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk. The team also reacquired forward Alexei Ponikarovsky on Wednesday from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a pair of draft picks.
Coyle played right wing on the team's top line the past five games, but did not have any points, had six shots on goal and was a minus-1.
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Former National Hockey League forward Andrew Brunette officially retired as a player Thursday, but he won't be out of the game for long.
Brunette was named Hockey Operations Advisor for the Minnesota Wild, an all-encompassing role that will allow Brunette to work directly with Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher, assistant GM Brent Flahr, Houston Aeros GM Jim Mill as well as the coaching staffs in Minnesota and Houston.
"It may be a bittersweet day for Andrew Brunette, but it's a great day for our franchise," Fletcher said. "To add someone with his experience and his intelligence to our hockey operations department … who knows where this takes him? I think he has unlimited potential to do what he wants to do in this game."
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning will be looking to break a five-game winless streak when they meet the Washington Capitals on Thursday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, and coach Guy Boucher will be going to the back-up goaltender to get matters turned around.
But not because he wants to; because he has to.
Anders Lindback, who has started seven of the past nine games for Tampa Bay, is out ill, so Mathieu Garon gets the call in net. As to the extent of Lindback's illness, Boucher sounded as in the dark as anyone.
"I don't know how sick he is," Boucher said. "I have no clue. I don't know if he'll dress tonight. He's home right now and I have no clue. They're going to call him back and see how he's doing later; it might just be a one- or two-hour thing, but right now we're going with Garon in net. That's what I control; the rest -- it's somebody else's business right now.”
I had one really not-good game. I came back to the hotel and he [his father] was on Skype. My mother called first and said, 'Your father wants to talk to you.' So he moved my mother away, and he yelled at me for like 30 seconds. I understood him, and then he said, 'I'm done.' And he was gone. The next game I got my first shutout.