Marek Hrivik skates with the Rangers for the first time Sunday, and the 24-year-old could see more time on the penalty-killing unit.
Marek Hrivik’s best NHL memory prior to Sunday night was playing on an impressive line with J.T. Miller and Oscar Lindberg in a preseason game in Las Vegas in Sept. 2013. The Slovakian completed a strong training camp in Alain Vigneault’s first fall as Rangers coach but didn’t get the call to The Show.
Sunday, however, the phone rang, and hours later a nervous but excited Hrivik was logging 7:32 of ice time in his NHL debut, a 1-0 Rangers overtime win over the Red Wings at the Garden.
“I remember. That was my first camp,” Hrivik said, recalling that night in Vegas. “I had a good one for sure. It was tight, a lot of guys played well. It was me, J.T., Jesper (Fast). So it was a big lineup up there. I got sent down to Hartford, and I’ve been trying to work my way up here the past few years. So I’m glad it worked out.”
Hrivik, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound left-handed shot, played 44 seconds on a penalty kill that smothered the Detroit power play to 0-for-4 with just one shot. But he will play more shorthanded minutes.
The 24-year-old was brought here to improve the struggling penalty kill and forward depth, where Jarret Stoll and Paille failed before him trying to replace the traded Carl Hagelin. Hrivik has been the Hartford Wolf Pack’s best penalty killer. He just had to wait a while for the call: He first signed as an undrafted free agent in May 2012 and re-signed last summer on a one-year, $ 575,000 deal.
“I was like, ‘Yeah, there we go, four years but I’m here,’” a smiling Hrivik said describing GM Jeff Gorton’s call. “I was just happy it happened. It was a hard first game. It was hard to get my legs going the first few minutes, but I’m happy we won. I’m gonna remember this for the rest of my life.”
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