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Nieves Looks to Establish Himself After Recall

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

VANCOUVER -- It hasn't sunk in yet for Cristoval 'Boo' Nieves, who was recalled by the Rangers earlier today after the Blueshirts lost both Chris Kreider (upper-body) and Pavel Buchnevich (back spasms) before Sunday's win in Edmonton. But the young forward is looking to make an impact if given the chance to lace up his skates for the first time as a Ranger.

"This is really exciting," said Nieves, who said he found out this morning while sitting in his apartment. "It was pretty surreal. It hasn't really registered."

Nieves, the team's 2012 second-round pick, has a goals and five assists through 13 games with the Wolf Pack in his first season as a pro. He spent four seasons at the University of Michigan. 

"A part of me is just kind of shocked and another part of me is just really excited to finally get this thing going," Nieves added.

Nieves was arguably the team's best forward after current Ranger Jimmy Vesey at the Traverse City Prospect Tournament back in September before an upper-body injury derailed him at the tournament's end. He missed nearly all of training camp but did impress in his lone preseason appearance against Philadelphia.

"I saw a big, strong skating centermen that hadn't barely played in the last two weeks," Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault said at the time. "I liked some of the things he did."

While he ultimately was sent down to Hartford, Nieves said this first call up is gratifying that he was able to make an impression is such a small sample size.

"It's great. I think the injury did hold me back a little bit but I felt like I proved I could play at this level when I was given a chance in preseason," Nieves said. "I'm just excited to get another chance in the regular season and hopefully prove myself again."

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