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Rangers players mixed on use of iPads during games

John Tortorella has metaphorically done to every one of the Flyers what Chris Kreider did to Mika Zibanejad during Game 6 of last year’s first round in Pittsburgh when he ripped the iPad out of No. 93’s hands on the bench and emphatically fired it to the floor after the center checked it after hitting the post on a breakaway.

“He was looking at the breakaway and I heard him start second-guessing his move and didn’t really like that,” Kreider said that night. “He beat him clean, hit the post. Don’t need to second-guess.”

The Philadelphia head coach did not physically engage with his players to wrest their screens out of their clutches but instead issued a decree banning iPads from the bench, saying he felt using them had become a distraction.

This is a first in the NHL.

“It really wouldn’t make any difference to me,” Jimmy Vesey said in advance of Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Canadiens at the Garden when talking about the ban. “I think I’ve looked at a screen maybe three times in my six years [in the NHL].”

Chris Kreider
Chris Kreider
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post
Flyers coach John Tortorella

Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere both said they have referred to iPads rather sparingly on the bench.

“You know what you did when you come off,” Kakko said. “Sometimes I’ll look to see what other option might have been there if I think I saw something — more on the power play, but not so much.

“I think it’s almost better not to.”

Lafreniere said that he checks the screen occasionally if he felt like he missed something but that he concentrates on video the day after a game when the Rangers send him a package of all of his shifts.

But Zibanejad said he has found the iPad to be an extremely valuable tool in allowing him to monitor the power play in essentially real time.

“I don’t look at it much for five-on-five, but it’s important to have, as far as making adjustments on the power play,” Zibanejad said. “You know what it looks like from your viewpoint but you might see something different looking from an overhead angle.

“When we come off, usually the second unit goes and then there is usually at least one more line that goes on while we’re on the bench. The video is almost in sync with the game, so you have a little time. You can get through it quickly.

“So we have time to make adjustments before the next power play. We’ve changed things a number of times based on something we might see on the screen,” Zibanejad said. “I don’t think you have to look at every shift and every chance during the game but for power-play situations, I like it.”

Kreider missed his second straight with an upper-body injury while Julien Gauthier was placed on IR in the aftermath of his collision with Sammy Blais in the first period of Thursday’s match with Dallas.

Gauthier, who sustained an upper-body issue, was placed on IR in order to open a roster spot for Ryan Carpenter, recalled from AHL Hartford prior to the match. Carpenter did not dress.

Jake Leschyshyn played 6:47 in his Rangers debut, playing between Blais and Jonny Brodzinski on the fourth line. The 23-year-old waivers acquisition from Vegas went 2-and-2 at the dots.

Libor Hajek, who last played on Dec. 12, was designated as a healthy scratch for the 14th straight match and 28th time in 44 games. The 24-year-old defenseman was a scratch for 60 of the 77 games for which he was on the active roster last season.

Jaroslav Halak, who has won his last three starts with a .918 save percentage and 2.34 GAA, will presumably get the call Monday in Columbus to conclude the back-to-back after Igor Shesterkin was in net Sunday at the Garden against Montreal.

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