BOSTON — Boxford’s Chris Kreider scored five goals and added two assists in 18 playoff games for the New York Rangers last spring after winning the NCAA national title with Boston College.
It appeared entering this year that the left winger had the potential to make an immediate major impact offensively for the Rangers in his first NHL regular season.
But the former Phillips Academy star’s season didn’t start well. He was in pain during his first three games because of a bone chip in his ankle suffered during an AHL game in early January before the lockout ended.
He received just 28:06 minutes of ice time combined in his first three games, had a disappointing minus-2 rating and Rangers coach John Tortorella told reporters he was considering sending Kreider back to the Connecticut Whale of the AHL.
“No pressure,” Kreider told The Eagle-Tribube about what was going through his mind early in the season. “I was just focusing on my game and just trying to improve every day.”
Kreider, who trains at Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning in North Andover, and the New York Rangers were in town to play the Boston Bruins last night.
After sitting out five straight games with his ankle injury, Kreider recently returned to the Rangers’ lineup and he is keeping the same mindset he had during his first three games. There are no guarantees he will stay on New York’s roster for the remainder of the year. A couple of bad games — or even just one — and he could be sent to Connecticut. But he is trying to remain calm, learn from his teammates and improve his skills as a winger.
So far, so good.
Entering last night’s game, Kreider had played in three contests since returning last Tuesday. In those three games, he had one goal, an assist and a plus-3 rating.