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Rangers rookie gets kind words from coach

by Jeremy Sandler
TORONTO -- John Tortorella can be rather brusque at the best of times.

So after his team's 3-2 overtime loss on Saturday -- a game in which the Toronto Maple Leafs tied the game with less than four minutes to play and cost New York a valuable point -- it would be tough to picture him having much nice to say about anything, let alone a minor league call-up.

Still, Tortorella had a few kind words for the work P.A. Parenteau, who scored New York's first goal and played more than 16 minutes in his first game since being recalled from the AHL's Hartford Wolfpack as an injury replacement

"He played really well," Tortorella said.

With forwards Ryan Callahan and Brian Boyle unable to play due to injuries and Sean Avery knocked out of the game with an apparent right knee injury, Parenteau may have an opening to supply to the Rangers what he's been giving the Wolfpack for much of the past three seasons.

The Hull, Que., native, who just celebrated his 27th birthday, epitomizes the journeyman professional hockey player.

A ninth-round pick (No. 264) by Anaheim in 2001, Parenteau scored 34 and 29 goals, respectively, in 2007-08 and 2008-09 while maintaining better than a point-per-game pace for Hartford.

The trouble was getting a chance in the NHL -- before this season, he had just five NHL games in six pro seasons.

The game against the Leafs was his 15th of the season with New York. He scored his second NHL goal, leaving him with a bit of a smile even as he properly lamented the late collapse that cost his team a crucial point in the standings.

"It's always nice, I thought I had my legs early in the game," said Parenteau who skated on the fourth line with Olli Jokinen and Aaron Voros for most of the night. "We had pretty nice chemistry, me, Voros and Jokinen early in the game and it feels good to contribute.

"It's always fun when you get the call to play in the NHL, especially here," he said. "It's one of the loudest buildings. It's in Canada, so it was fun tonight."

Parenteau, who even got time on New York's power play, received praise from forward Brandon Dubinsky.

"Their adrenaline is pumping and they know its their opportunity -- but then again, it's a huge jump, so for a guy to come up and play that well, it says a lot about him," Dubinsky said. "We need that right now. Especially with the guys we have out, we're going to need him to step up and everyone else to, as well."

That's the plan for Parenteau, at least as long as he is in the team's plans -- something he said he has no idea about.

"There's a few injuries, I'm going to play as best as I can," he said. "It's a big playoff hunt and every point's important. And if I can be part of that, that's what I'm looking for."

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