A full hour before practice began around noon Friday at the MSG Training Center, veteran Dominic Moore put in extra work on his game along with rookie Dylan McIlrath. Skating, drills, conditioning. Just looking to keep his edge after being a healthy scratch the previous two games.
Head coach Alain Vigneault appreciates the extra effort shown by Moore, and how the hard-working forward has reacted to being scratched in favor of Emerson Etem in Tuesday's 3-0 win over the Hurricanes and Thursday's 6-3 victory over the Blues.
"He was obviously not happy about not playing," Vigneault said of Moore, who returns to the lineup Saturday against Ottawa. "Dom's a veteran player who's been around a long time and what I know about him is that he values the team's success more than anything else. As disappointed as he might be, he is not a distraction to the team."
The Rangers have won seven straight games and are 12-2-2 on the season. Moore has scored one goal--the game-winner in the home-opener on October 10 against the Blue Jackets--in 14 appearances this season, and has been one of the team's top penalty killers.
Moore will skate with Jarret Stoll and Jesper Fast Saturday afternoon against the Senators, and the Rangers can expect his typical gritty play, and nothing short of pure professionalism in all facets of his game.
Then again, Moore's approach is symbolic of the team's "business-like" approach where the tone has been set by the club's leaders who have adopted a "win the day" theme, according to the head coach.
As for Saturday's opponent, a Senators team that is 5-2-1 in its last eight games, Vigneault knows the Rangers will have their hands full trying to run their win streak to eight.
"They are a young team with a lot of talent and potential," Vigneault said of Ottawa. "They just played a real strong game against Vancouver (a 3-2 Senators win), so we're going to have our hands full tomorrow. We have to be ready."