The New York Rangers tweeted that head coach Alain Vigneault announced injured forward Jesper Fast will play tonight vs. the New Jersey Devils. Fast, who had hip surgery on June 5, missed all of training camp and the first five games of the season so far this year. He was cleared for contact last week, and completed on-ice skills testing before practice and had the fourth-highest score. The 25-year-old wing scored six goals and 15 assists in 68 games last year, which was disappointing after a promising second-season in which he put up a 30-point campaign. Regardless, his work as a bottom-six player has been missed. The Rangers have come out of the gate slowly this year, as the team has started with a 1-4 record and have lost two straight.
- Joe Haggerty of NBC Sports writes that the Bruins, who have struggled both offensively and defensively to start the year and find themselves as 1-2, are attempting to simplify their offense for their game tonight against the Arizona Coyotes. Haggerty writes the team had the most success recently in the third period against Colorado when they posted two goals in that period. “The third period [in Colorado] we scored two goals and I don’t think we did anything spectacular other than win pucks, go to the net and be belligerent there. If that’s what it takes to get going, that’s what it takes sometimes to score goals in this league,” said head coach Bruce Cassidy.
- Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith writes that despite the Lightning’s logjam of eight defenders on the roster, the team is slowly giving more playing time to Slater Koekkoek. After he received two healthy scratches and playing in only 3:09 in his season debut Monday, Koekkoek got 9:44 in playing time on Thursday’s game, rewarding Tampa Bay with two goals. Despite playing under 10 minutes, Koekkoek still got more playing time than Mikhail Sergachev (5:22) and is starting to earn the coaching staff’s trust and could see another increase in time tonight when they play the St. Louis Blues.
- The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor breaks down (subscription required), why Philadelphia Flyers rookie Samuel Morin was sent down to Lehigh Valley. Many people were upset that Morin was sent down, because they feel he is NHL-ready now. The scribe breaks down some of the criteria of whether he belongs in the NHL, pointing out that he is physically ready for the NHL at 6-foot-6, 202 pounds and he has had success in the AHL so far with two solid seasons there. He then looks whether Morin showed off enough skill in training camp to deserve a spot before finally analyzing whether he is better than another defenseman on the roster, which is where O’Connor points out the problem. He writes that while Morin is right there, he didn’t prove to be better than the other two rookies in Robert Hagg and Travis Sanheim and is not ready to beat out veterans like Radko Gudas or Andrew MacDonald.