Sami Bliss’ return looks like it’s giving Rangers a boost on the wing

It’s been just over 10 months since Sammy Blais got involved in a hockey game.

The 26-year-old winger is coming off the season-ending ACL tear that he suffered in his 14th game as a goalkeeper last season. He was memorably tripped into the corner by retired defender BK Suban. Coincidentally, Blais made his triumphant return to the action game in Rangers 3rd pre-season competition Thursday night against the Devils, the team the Blues were playing in when the injury occurred.

“When I think about what I’ve been through all year and all the hard work I’ve had to do, I’m glad it’s all in the past,” Blaise told The Post on Thursday before notching a blocked shot and four hits in Rangers’ 5-2 loss to the Devils. At the Garden. “I don’t try to think about it too much. I’m just trying to get out here tonight and just have fun.”

Skating on his tough first practice and squabbling with the team last week, Bliss said he spent the first few days of training camp getting back to the swing of things. He said his knee was feeling better, and no additional treatment was necessary since he was back on the ice.

Sammy Place looks to dominate the disc as Graeme Clarke during Rangers' 5-2 pre-season loss to the Devils.
Sammy Place looks to dominate the disc as Graeme Clarke during Rangers’ 5-2 pre-season loss to the Devils.
Jason Szenes

Blais, who came to New York as a comeback in the trade that sent Pavel Bukhnevich to St. Louis last season, appears ready to pick up where he left off at the time of his injury. After skating over the top line with Mika Zibanijad and Chris Kreider in his last three games last season, Bliss returned to that right spot during the early days of camp and again in his first exhibition game.

“I think it adds another element to our streak,” Zipanjad said of Bliss, who has scored four assists in 14 matches. “He can play plays, and he has a physical advantage to him as well. I feel like he has that, like a joker when you play any kind of card game, he can throw it at you. He surprised us not only sometimes, but often, it’s the opponent who we play it

“In connection with that, I think we’re excited for him to be back and excited for me and Chris to play with him.”

In 33:19 of icy time together last season, Kreider, Zibani Nejad and Bliss scored one goal for two in his own net. Zibanijad noted that Bliss’ strength, skill and hockey intelligence distinguished him last season, adding that he has proven that he has a soft set of hands in line with his physical presence.

Sami Bliss ice skates during the second period of Rangers' pre-season loss.
Sami Bliss ice skates during the second period of Rangers’ pre-season loss.
Jason Szenes

When it came to his turn alongside Kreider and Zibanejad, Blais pointed to getting small balls and playing big on the pot. He also expressed confidence in his ability to play disc, saying that if there was a play to be made, he would make it.

It was fun. Playing on that streak last season, Bliss said: “Micah and Creeds are incredible players. “Two stars in the league. So when I’m there with them, I just try to bring them some space and play with the disc. I’m really happy. Playing with them makes my job a lot easier.”

Rangers are still in an evaluation period when it comes to their squad. There were several different groups on the ice through the first few show games, but the wing’s rotation in the top six was the focal point. Zipanegad and Kreider skate with Capo Kaku in the Rangers’ inaugural win over the Islanders, while Artemi Banarin and Vincent Trochek have not featured in an exhibition match yet.

“He had a lot of energy,” Gallant said of Bliss. “He was running a lot and trying to throw hits, but he ran out of place a few times. I loved his energy and it’s been a long time since he was able to play against another team like this. Really happy with him and happy for him because he got through the match and everything went well” .

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