Rangers’ Alex Georgiev on Tony DeAngelo tussle: ‘Emotions happened’
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Alex Georgiev will get the call for Wednesday’s Garden match against the Bruins, marking the 25-year-old netminder’s first assignment since that fateful Jan. 30 night on which he tussled in the tunnel with Tony DeAngelo.
“I don’t want to elaborate on what happened. I just want to keep it in the past,” Georgiev said in his first public statements since the incident that led to DeAngelo’s expulsion from the team. “Emotions happened, and that’s all I can say.
“I wish Tony the best moving forward.”
It is well established that DeAngelo made a disparaging comment to Georgiev as the team left the ice following the Penguins’ 5-4 overtime victory in which the goaltender had hardly been at his best. Georgiev responded with a punch with his blocker to the defenseman before K’Andre Miller broke up the scuffle.
DeAngelo has since been waived. Georgiev has been sitting behind Igor Shesterkin for the last three games in which his partner recorded a 1.68 GAA and .944 save pct. Interestingly, Shesterkin has not yet started more than three straight through his brief NHL career. Perhaps equally interesting is that neither has Georgiev.
“I think [Alex] has handled [the fallout] it well,” David Quinn said. “It’s been over a week now and I think we’ve all moved past it. Our guys are in a good spot and he’s in a good spot. He’s looked good in practice.
“I think it’s important for him to get in the net for a variety of reasons. We’re going to need him, one, and two, he wants to play. I think this will help him to continue to move forward here but I think he’s moved forward anyway.”
What the Rangers and Georgiev both need is for the goaltender to reach into the past. Say to the final couple of months of last season when No. 40 appeared in complete command of his game and was equal to the playoff chase moment. He was economical, always seemed square to the shooter, in control of rebounds and able to sweep loose pucks out of danger.
Georgiev brought that game and that confidence into his first start of the season, when he stopped 23 shots in shutting out the Islanders on Jan. 16. But the Bulgarian native has been out of sorts in his next three starts, appearing to lunge and stab at pucks while leaving all manner of loose rebounds and surrendering a handful of questionable goals.
He is 0-2-1 in those last three starts with a 4.50 GAA and .854 save pct. It is true that the Rangers need Georgiev, but it is even more so a fact that they need the goaltender to be better.
“I’ve been going with Benny, as usual, the goalie practices,” Georgiev said, referencing goaltender coach Benoit Allaire. “I’m trying to stay sharp every day, read the releases and kind of follow the game from the bench.
“I’ve been working hard in practice, waiting for the next chance to play. Business as usual.”
Julien Gauthier played perhaps his most impressive game as Ranger in Monday’s 2-0 defeat to the Islanders while teaming with Kevin Rooney and Brendan Lemieux on the fourth line. Gauthier, playing in his third straight after serving as a healthy scratch for five in a row, still got a team-least 10:14 of ice time.
“I thought his game was better, and there’s always a path for a player to get more ice time based on how they play,” Quinn said of Carolina’s 21st-overall selection of the 2016 entry draft who has yet to score a goal in 23 NHL games. “We’ve spent a lot of time with him here, going over things he’s going to need to do consistently.
“It’s always hard for guys who have always scored their whole lives to kind of maybe accept a different role at this level and I think Julien is going through that right now. I think he can score at this level, how much is to be determined.
“But I thought he made a step forward [Monday].”
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