Gerard Gallant admits Patrick Kane rumors, trade deadline a distraction for Rangers

Patrick Kane
Patrick Kane / Jamie Sabau - USA TODAY Sports

With the NHL trade deadline nearing, the chatter around the Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane has only intensified.

And with New York in the hunt for the playoffs, keeping the outside noise from entering the dressing room has been a losing battle for head coach Gerard Gallant.

“It always does. I can’t say no,” Gallant said when asked Friday if the rumors have been a distraction.

"It always does. At this time of year, it’s tough on some players,” he said. “But at the end of the day, you’re trying to make your team better every day, and that’s what management does. It’s going to be over in a week’s time, but you just got to focus on playing the games.

“I think we lost a little bit of focus last night. I thought we looked a little tired for the first time last night.”

On Thursday night, the Rangers suffered their third straight defeat, 4-1 to the Detroit Red Wings.

Kane has reportedly signaled New York is his preferred destination, even after the Rangers acquired Vladimir Tarasenko. The 34-year-old forward has been linked with the Rangers for over a month ahead of the March 3 trade deadline. For Chicago, Kane has 16 goals and 29 assists in 54 games.

Kane did not practice Friday, taking a “maintenance day” ahead of Saturday’s game in San Jose, which increased the speculation.

Defenseman Ryan Lindgren admitted it is "hard not to" catch wind of the rumors.

“You hear stuff,” he said after Friday’s optional practice in Washington. “You just try and focus on the team and the game and what we going on each day. Kinda hard to do, but I think we’re doing a good job of it.”

Lindgren said he tries not to check his phone too much with the deadline nearing, but it is exciting when management is looking to make a team better for a playoff run.

"Obviously means that they have some trust in us and we’ve proved that we can be a good team this year," he said. "It’s always exciting when you add guys."

Despite the rumors being a distraction amid a tough run of form, getting better and winning is at the forefront of the head coach’s mind.

"We’re a team that we think has a good chance to win, and you try and compete and get better every time you go out there," Gallant said. "Management is on the same page, coaches are on the same page and the players are on the same page.

“We think we’re one of those teams that has a chance to legitimately win, and you try to make your team better."