Rangers News & Rumors: COVID, Berard, Richter & More

The New York Rangers’ game against the New York Islanders, which was scheduled for Nov. 28, was postponed due to a surge of positive COVID-19 tests with Islanders players. Also, Rangers prospect Brett Berard is likely headed back to the World Juniors this year, some former Rangers stars help out Toys for Tots, while Dryden Hunt and Chris Kreider help the squad to its eighth win in nine games

Rangers vs. Islanders Postponed

The Rangers’ game against the Islanders, which was supposed to be played on Nov. 28 at Madison Square Garden, was postponed due to COVID protocols. In fact, all of the Islanders’ games through Nov. 30 were postponed. The Blueshirts’ cross-town rivals were extremely depleted when the teams played at UBS Arena (the Isles’ new digs) last week for the first time, and the Rangers came out with a 4-1 win.

Anders Lee, Ross Johnston, Kieffer Bellows, Zdeno Chara, Adam Pelech, and Josh Bailey were placed in COVID protocol over the course of a week. Then, Casey Cizikas tested positive on Nov. 27, so the league decided it was best to postpone the game and the Islanders’ game against the Philadelphia Flyers scheduled for Nov. 30.

As far as what the NHL’s exact criteria is for postponing certain games, (they’ve done it with five already) Islanders general manager (GM) Lou Lamoriello said, “I have no knowledge of what the threshold is [for postponing]. I believe that’s in the hands of the doctors both in the National Hockey League and the players’ association and the infectious disease people.” (From ‘Islanders’ COVID-19 outbreak puts Rangers game in doubt’, New York Post, 11/23/21)

Berard on WJC Preliminary Roster

Rangers prospect and 2020 fifth-round draft pick Brett Berard was named to the preliminary roster of the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship (WJC). Berard, who’s currently in his second season with Providence College, helped the US National Team win 2021 WJC Gold.

Berard, who’s yet to sign an entry-level contract with the Rangers, had one goal and four assists during last year’s WJC. He’s no stranger to playing for Team USA, as he came up through the US National Team Developmental Program (USNTDP) before going to Providence for the 2020-21 NCAA season. So far this season with Providence, he has 10 goals and 11 assists in 17 games.

Richter, Matteau, Graves; Toys For Tots Drive

On Dec. 6, in the Hulu Theater Lobby of MSG, the Rangers organization, along with former players Mike Richter, Stephane Matteau and Adam Graves, will host their annual Toys for Tots Drive. The drive will start at 5 p.m. and run until 6:30 p.m. It helps support the Garden of Dreams Foundation and the US Marine Corps, along with Toys for Tots. This marks 28 years the Rangers have supported the Marine Corps efforts on behalf of Toys for Tots.

During the drive, Richter, Matteau and Graves will be signing autographs. Player cards will be provided or you can bring one item of memorabilia if you choose. You can bring unopened toys to the drive, donate at any one of the collection bin locations, or online.

Hunt, Kreider & Rangers’ Last 9

The Rangers took it to the banged-up Philadelphia Flyers Wednesday night. They jumped out to a 2-0 lead and never looked back, winning 4-1 on an empty-net goal by Artemi Panarin, who had two points. Dryden Hunt scored a goal before being kicked out of the game for boarding. Hunt is reaping the benefits of playing with Panarin and Ryan Strome. He’s got six points in his last four games.

Dryden Hunt, New York Rangers
Dryden Hunt, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Chris Kreider scored another goal for his team-leading 16th of the season. He’s third in the league, behind Leon Draisaitl and Alexander Ovechkin. Hunt and Kreider’s goals, along with timely saves by Igor Shesterkin, gave the Rangers their eighth win in nine games, and the Blueshirts are currently tied with the Carolina Hurricanes with 31 points in 21 games. They’re two points behind the division-leading Washington Capitals with two games in hand.

Related: Rangers Should Name Chris Kreider Captain

The Train Keeps Rolling

After the postponed game the Rangers kept the train rolling with their eighth win in the last nine games. Hunt is playing well and Kreider remains hot. Toys for Tots is coming up and Brett Berard hopes to be back on the Team USA WJC roster.

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