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Fast's Return to the Rangers Lineup Approaching

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

Jesper Fast is zeroing in on a return to the Rangers' lineup.

The winger, who has been cleared to practice in a full contact jersey for about two weeks following offseason hip surgery, underwent his skating testing this morning and is waiting for medical clearance to return to game action.

"Still doing good. I did the skate test this morning so I thought that I did pretty good," he said. "Just waiting for the medical team to clear me. It shouldn't be that long until I can be out there again."

Coach Alain Vigneault said Fast scored the fourth-best time on the drill of the entire group, and said a return is approaching.

"I think he's closing in here," he said. "Probably need a couple practices here. Not exactly sure of the timing. I haven't talked to our doctor or [medical trainer Jim Ramsay]. Will probably do that at some point today or tomorrow. Probably I would say a week to 10 days here and he should be ready to go here."

While he won't know if he's game ready until he's in an actual game, Fast said physically he feels good as he continues to train for a return.

"This summer I wasn't able to do legs in the beginning, so you do other stuff," he said. "Of course now the big priority is to skate right now. Been doing a lot of stuff on the ice. That's what I'm doing right now to prepare to get ready."

Fast said it's been frustrating to watch the team struggle out of the gate and not be able to play, but he understands missed games come with major surgery.

"Of course it's hard when the team isn't winning. You want to be out there and help them," Fast said. "I knew from the beginning I'd probably miss some games. I'm just doing what I should be doing out there."

Vigneault, though, said the Rangers struggles extend beyond just one player as the team is still looking to find its groove early in the season.

"It's not just one player. Quickie is an important player to our group here, but right now we're a work in progress here," Vigneault said. "We're trying to sort out our identity here. Trying to sort out the chemistry, whether it be with duos or linemates. It's where we are. We've got a lot of work ahead of us. I feel that everybody wants to put in the work and the time and the effort that's needed."

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