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Klein Out for Season Opener

Holden to Play Right Side With Staal

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

The Rangers will open the 2016-17 season without defenseman Kevin Klein, who underwent an MRI on Tuesday that revealed a back strain that will keep him out of the lineup for Thursday's matchup with the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden

"His MRI - it's just a strain. Nothing serious," head coach Alain Vigneault revealed Wednesday. "He's day-to-day. It's a back. He'll be back soon."

With Klein out of the lineup, Vigneault had newcomer Nick Holden paired with Marc Staal on the team's second pair. Vigneault said Holden has been as advertised thus far in New York.

"Steady and dependable defenseman," Vigneault said of Holden. "That's the read we got from our scouts and that's the read that I saw during training camp. He's a defenseman that can play the left and right, which is positive. Tomorrow he'll get an opportunity to play with Marc and I'm sure he'll do well."

Holden, who was acquired at the NHL Draft from Colorado, said he's come to New York and just stuck to the game that interested the Rangers in the fist place.

"I don't think coming to a new team, I don't think you have too many expectations," Holden, 29, told reporters. "I wanted to come in and play my game and find my little niche on the team."

Holden's versatility in an advantage in situations like these, as he can fill a void on either side of the ice.

"Naturally I'm a left-handed shot, so I play lots of left," Holden said. "But luckily I've had some coaches that put me on the right side, so I feel comfortable over there as well. It helps me to be a jack of all trades."

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