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NEW YORK RANGERS

SAD NEWS: Adams was fired due to poor attitude towards training not long ago

Adam Fox, the Rangers’ top defenseman, was absent from practice on Thursday for the second consecutive day due to what the team described as “a maintenance day.”

Is this cause for concern for the Rangers, who are about to play the Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference second round of the playoffs?

The Rangers players, after all, were off on Monday and Tuesday, so a “maintenance” day seemed curious when Fox wasn’t on the ice on Wednesday when the players returned to practice.

Adam Fox celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during a regular-season game. The Rangers’ defenseman missed practice again for a “maintenance day.” Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Now, with Fox missing a second consecutive day on the ice, speculation raises about the condition of his right knee that was banged in a collision with Washington’s Nick Jensen on Game 4 of the last series Sunday.

Rangers coach Peter Laviolette was predictably vague when asked about Fox after practice Thursday.

“When our players return to the ice, they return to the ice,” Laviolette said. “So, if [Fox] is cleared for practice, he’s cleared for practice.”

Interestingly, Filip Chytil, who’s been out of action since November with an injury but has been skating in practice, was used as a fill-in for Fox with the top power-play line in practice.

This seemed to be an indication that Fox is not expected to miss any significant time, because if he were truly hurt then another defenseman, like Erik Gustafsson, would likely have been getting work at that spot.

As of Thursday, the schedule for the Rangers-Hurricanes series still had not been announced by the NHL, keeping teams in limbo.

So, Laviolette said he’s been handling the extra time without games like a mini-training camp. The Rangers faced a similar stretch without a game entering the Washington playoff series.

“I thought our guys handled it well the first time,’’ Laviolette said. “We had that break before Round 1. We did exactly what we’re doing here. We’re taking three days of practice, trying to make it a bit of a mini-training camp based on us, what we need to do, our opposition all of that, put it in play.

“We’re trying to make sure that we get rested, and [for] guys that are banged up it gives them a chance to recover.’’

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Laviolette said he’s “still waiting for the exact details on’’ when the series will begin, with speculation that Game 1 would be Sunday at the Garden.

“Right now, we’re just we’re going about our business.’’ he said.

“Rest is a weapon at this time of year,’’ Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey said. “Sometimes, if you’re playing two or three rounds and you’re going seven [games], seven, seven it can be tough. We’ll take the rest and use it to our advantage and be ready to go once the second round starts.’’

Rangers captain Jacob Trouba, for one, had no idea the Hurricanes are the betting favorite in this series until he was informed by reporters.

Asked if that’s motivation for a Rangers team that won the Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL’s top regular-season point getters, Trouba said, “I don’t think anybody in here really cares about that outside noise and chatter. We believe in ourselves in here, and we know what’s ahead of us.” It’s going to be a hard-fought, long series. That’s what we’re preparing for.

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