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News of Martin Biron’s exit from the Rangers on Monday hits the team hard.
Monday was a tough day for the Rangers, and they didn’t even play a game.
Coach Alain Vigneault said after practice in Greenburgh that right wing Rick Nash “is still feeling some symptoms” from Tuesday’s concussion in San Jose, “so until I hear otherwise, I don’t expect him back.” Nash already has missed two games, part of a three-game losing streak for the Rangers (1-4-0), who play next Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
This is Nash’s second concussion in eight months, including last season’s Feb. 12 injury in Boston.
On top of that, the organization placed goalie Martin Biron and right wing Arron Asham on waivers. Biron’s departure was emotional for the veteran goaltender and his teammates, given his significance to the locker room and his role in the team’s 2011-12 success.
“It’s not a good feeling,” said Henrik Lundqvist, who won a Vezina Trophy in tandem with Biron two seasons ago. “We’ve been working together for a few years. It’s just a great relationship. I don’t know what’s gonna happen. Right now I have to focus on my own game, but we really get along well. It’s not fun to hear, but it’s a part of the game.”
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Arron Asham (r.) shows toughness against the Kings’ Kyle Clifford but fails to impress Alain Vigneault.
Vigneault and GM Glen Sather were set to convene Monday afternoon to discuss potential call-ups, expected to be goalie Cam Talbot and either center/wing J.T. Miller or left wing Chris Kreider.
Biron, 36, said he had an “inclination” being waived was a possibility after being pulled in St. Louis Saturday following two periods. He intimated that Vigneault had told him before facing the Blues that something was “on the line” that night. But he said in the second period, when he gave up three goals on five shots: “We were in a position where I could make a couple of saves and we’d be on top, and I didn’t.”
Vigneault wants his backup to start 15 to 20 games this season and did believe the Rangers could win with Biron doing so.
Biron and Asham will go to the Rangers’ AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack, if another NHL team does not claim them by noon on Tuesday. If they clear waivers, a fraction of their NHL salaries will remain on the Rangers’ books. Biron, however, did not rule out retirement after playing 508 games during 16 NHL seasons, saying “there are many options ahead of me.” He only found out at the end of Monday’s practice, in a one-on-one conversation with Vigneault at the far blue line.
Biron’s family lives in the Buffalo area. He said he needs time and perspective to evaluate how he’ll proceed.
“It’s all very raw and fresh right now,” Biron said. “Did I see that coming? I mean, it was something in the back of my mind. But I need time to process that all out. I need to put my feet on the ground and see where I need to go from here, but that basically sums it up in the feeling category. It’s all over the place, and I’ve just got to sort out the real ones from the ones that are just caught in the moment.”