There were only eight Rangers on the ice Thursday at Verizon Center, but captain Chris Drury
was one of them and he said he's preparing as if he's going to play Saturday in Game 2 (1 p.m. ET, NBC, TSN) of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarterfinal.
Drury missed the first playoff game of his career Wednesday night. His injury remains undisclosed, though speculation is that it's either his wrist or his leg.
"Everyday it's getting a little better," Drury said.
Even though Rangers coach John Tortorella mentioned after Wednesday's game that Drury will likely play Saturday, he stuck with his daily "day-to-day, nothing has changed" diagnosis when asked about the captain following Thursday's skate.
Drury took warm-ups prior to Wednesday game, and even skated in the Rangers' optional morning skate earlier in the day, because he wanted to test the undisclosed injury to see "what it would take and it couldn't take."
He wound up leaving the ice early during warm-ups because, as he said, "you just kind of know. I didn't want to be rushed, staying on late in warm-up and then not having time to talk it over in (the dressing room)."
"I was preparing as if I was playing," Drury added. "I didn't want to get caught thinking the other way and end up playing. I'll just do the same thing again (Saturday); get ready and see what happens."
Drury said the decision for him not to play was made jointly between him, Tortorella and Rangers' head athletic trainer Jim Ramsey.
"I'm not stubborn to say one way or another," Drury said.
That the Rangers wound up winning despite not having him certainly eased the blow of not playing, Drury said.
"Yeah, that helps out a lot," he said. "I certainly don't want to be watching on TV in the coach's room, that's for sure."
As for the rest of the team, Tortorella made Thursday's practice optional just like Washington coach Bruce Boudreau
did out at the Capitals' practice facility in Arlington, Va.
"Yeah, get 'em out of the building," Tortorella said. "We just had a very short meeting. It was an optional on or off, it was their choice. We want them to get away and we'll start again (Friday). I don't want to overload them and have them thinking too much."