Kennedy, White happy to clear waivers
Notebook: Forwards remain Rangers property; Drury, Prospal placed on IR
|Forward Tim Kennedy is very grateful to have cleared waivers because he said he has truly loved the experience of being a New York Ranger so far.|
• Stepan Wins Sjoberg Award
• Complete Training Camp Coverage
By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com
Both Tim Kennedy and Todd White cleared waivers on Wednesday, meaning that they will remain with the Rangers. Both players took part in practice Wednesday and are looking forward to the season opener in Buffalo on Saturday night.
“After being here these first few weeks it’s such a great place and I want to stay here,” Kennedy said of being part of the Rangers organization. “I am relieved that I am still here, and I just want to get back to work.”
Kennedy said that Rangers head coach John Tortorella explained to him the reasoning behind the decision to place him on waivers. Although he understood the business side of things, Kennedy still couldn’t help being a bit emotional about the team’s decision.
“He told me it was all about having some flexibility,” said Kennedy. “There was some emotion, but you can’t control what the front office is going to do. You can only control how hard you work. I just have to keep working hard and show them that I belong here.”
Tortorella who often praised Kennedy’s play and work-ethic early in training camp, said that the second-year forward did not quite maintain that level of play throughout camp, although the head coach remains intrigued by what the hard-working Kennedy will bring to the club this season.
“As far as his camp went, it faded a bit at the end,” Tortorella said of Kennedy. “But he’s got some good talent, and he’s a good kid. I thought he did some good things here as far as camp.”
Of the veteran White, Tortorella said, “He started off very well, then I thought plateaued, and then the last couple of games and practices I think he was on the upswing.”
Drury, Propal put on Injured Reserve
To reach the 23-man roster limit by Wednesday’s league-imposed deadline, the Rangers placed veteran forwards Chris Drury and Vinny Prospal on the Injured Reserve list.
While Drury, who is sidelined with a broken left index finger, has been skating on his own to maintain his conditioning, Prospal is not expected on the ice in the near future as he rests a sore right knee.
“I don’t expect him for a little bit here,” Tortorella said of Prospal. “It’s a player that adds enthusiasm into the locker room and is an important guy for us. But we can’t depend on that because it’s such an iffy situation now. So we need to understand that we need to be playing without him right now.”
With neither key veteran available to start the regular season, Tortorella is even more pleased that neither Kennedy nor White was claimed on waivers.
“Dru’s hurt, Prospal’s hurt, so they give us some extra security there with injuries as we start the season,” Tortorella said of Kennedy and White. “Eventually with the injuries, they can help the team.”
Tortorella also added that he expects another player to wear the alternate captain’s “A” with Prospal sidelined, although he had not given thought to whom that would be just yet. He also has said previously that no other player would wear the captain’s “C” during Drury’s absence.
Stepan honored as camp's top rookie
Stepan earned a spot on the opening nigh- roster with his strong performance throughout camp. In five preseason games, Stepan tallied three goals, two assists, and five points. He tied for the team-lead in goals and tied for second in points.
“You can see he’s a very mature kid, and I think that’s going to help him in speeding up the process of becoming a pro,” said Tortorella. “I think he has an intangible about him as far as his mindset. He has a humbleness about him, but he also has a good arrogance about him, and a very mature mindset.”