Klein adjusting to life with RangersThe blueliner preps for Stadium Series tilt just 96 hours after trade from Nashville
BRONX, N.Y. - Four days ago, new Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein was getting ready to face John Tortorella's Vancouver Canucks.
Instead, he's the newest member of Tortorella's old team, and is expected to be on the ice when the Rangers and Devils face off at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, as part of the NHL Stadium Series.
Klein was traded to the Rangers by Nashville on Wednesday afternoon. He was on the ice for the Blueshirts during a lightly-attended morning skate Thursday morning, made his Rangers debut later that night and practiced with the full team for the first time Saturday afternoon, in a light snow, at Yankee Stadium.
"I had to adjust, because I thought I was only gone for seven days," Klein said of the Predators' current four-game road trip. "Next thing you know, I've got about two weeks until the Olympic break where I can go back to Nashville and get really settled. It was a real rush, I only had about three or four hours to say goodbye, pack up, and get on the plane."
Perhaps some of his biggest difficulties -- just like for any job -- is making new acquaintances in his new town.
"You just go into a room where you don't know anyone," said Rick Nash, who was traded to the Rangers during the 2012 offseason. "He was in Nashville for eight or nine years, he met a lot of people, made a lot of friends and he was comfortable there. Now he's coming into a new situation. It's not a bad thing, it's just different."
"As a player, when you come into a new environment, before you get to know your teammates, and the staff and the personnel, it can be a little challenging," said Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault, who's set to be bench boss for the first time in an outdoor game. "Getting used to New York can be a little bit overwhelming for someone coming from a small little town."
According to Dan Carcillo, who was traded to the Rangers from the Kings earlier this month, the Rangers leaders have made it an easy room to acclimate to.
"This is a totally different room than [Los Angeles]. Just night and day with the culture, and how guys act around the room," Carcillo said. "It's actually a lot of fun to come to the rink on this team. Los Angeles wasn't so much, with [coach Darryl] Sutter cloud hanging over the room and hanging over everyone."
"We have a great bunch of guys here," said Derick Brassard, who was traded to the Rangers last April. "Sometimes, when there are new guys they're going to feel like they're not part of the team. It's been unreal here. All the players, like Klein and Carcillo, they fit really well in our group because we're pretty tight."
Klein's debut on Thursday was smooth. The stay-at-home blueliner skated nearly 16 minutes, providing a stable third-pair defenseman for Vigneault to call upon.
"It's definitely a tough situation to come into," Nash said. "All this stuff going on, the outdoor games, cameras around, but he's a professional, he's been in this league a long time, he knows what to expect."
"At the end of the day, you really don't have any control over it," Carcillo said. "All you have control over is how to play, how you act around the guys and how good of a teammate you are. Hopefully that dictates whether you want to stay somewhere, or you want to go."
Klein isn't exactly upset over his move to Broadway. After all, sitting in the expansive visitors' clubhouse at Yankee Stadium is probably more exciting than where he would have been -- a January road trip through Western Canada.
"It's pretty amazing. From the facility, to the outdoor [part of] the Stadium. It's a pretty cool experience," Klein said. "Playing in front of that big of a crowd in New York -- it's pretty cool. I think that's the main thing. Outdoors, it's still the same size ice and all that. The whole crowd, and that experience, will be the best part about it."