VJW Alum Chris Kreider is not just an NHL player anymore... he is transforming into a game changer for the New York Rangers.
who spent his entire youth career with the Valley Jr Warriors, was
enjoying a stellar second season of play before being sidelined in March
with a hand injury that required surgery. The Rangers advanced to the
NHL Playoffs, but the team found itself in trouble during the second
That is when Kreider emerged from injury and changed the entire complexion of the series.
just his second game back and with his team trailing 3-1 in the series,
Kreider ended his team's 0-for-36 power-play drought when he tipped in a
shot from the point. It was clear that Kreider was no longer a rookie
or a role player... he is an emerging superstar.
Below is an article that appeared in a recent Newsday issue that explains how Kreider has given the Rangers a second chance at NHL Playoff glory.
Chris Kreider provides Rangers with size, speed and scoring touch
Published: May 10, 2014 8:01 PM
By STEVE ZIPAY
The NHL playoffs aren't poker, but in a way, Chris Kreider has been an ace in the hole.
In the first round, the Rangers beat
the Flyers in seven games without the help of the powerful 23-year-old
left wing, who was recovering from a broken left hand.
But few observers believed that the
Rangers could squeeze past the Penguins, who finished first in the
Eastern Conference, without more size and speed on the top two lines.
Kreider, who missed 19 games with
the injury, returned and admittedly was rusty in the Game 4 loss to
Pittsburgh that left the Rangers trailing 3-1 in the series. Then he
reminded Rangers fans of his value and potential in Game 5 Friday night.
In the first period, he dived to tip a
puck to the point and scored on the ensuing rebound, snapping the
team's power-play slump at 0-for-36. He assisted on the final goal and
delivered six hits and two shots in 11:55.
Asked Saturday if Kreider has another
level, coach Alain Vigneault said: "Without a doubt. The more games he
plays, the better he's going to become. It's not easy to step into
playoff hockey having missed 19 games and not having other than a
morning skate, one practice with the team.
"One thing Kreids has is he's a
tremendously conditioned athlete. He really takes care of himself
physically. The fact that for close to seven weeks he couldn't
stickhandle, couldn't do anything, that's as good as I've seen anybody
respond that hasn't had a full practice and stepping in and playing."
Kreider, who parachuted into the
2011-12 playoffs after playing for Boston College and scored five goals,
produced 17 goals and 34 points (12 on the power play) in 66 games
before being injured in late March. He had surgery to insert a pin on
For the past few weeks, the 6-3,
230-pound native of Boxford, Massachusetts, sweated through grueling
on-ice conditioning drills with associate coach Scott Arniel at the
team's training center, Madison Square Garden and on the road, and it
has begun to pay off.
"The fortunate thing for Chris is that
he's in unbelievable shape," Brad Richards said. "He's already one of
the strongest hockey players I've ever seen in the gym, so for him to
get all that time, where he could continue to work, not to mention how
mentally fresh and excited he'd be, he did a good job of channeling all
Because it was a hand injury, Richards
noted, Kreider "got to keep his legs skating and moving . . . so he
could jump into that [playoff] pace. He'd probably like to have a little
more of his hands and timing, but when you can skate and you're as
strong as he is, it makes it a lot easier."