Not sure what’s more intriguing — that Jaromir Jagr will be making his preseason debut tonight on Strong Island, or that he’ll be doing it alongside Brendan Shanahan.
Naturally, there are plusses and minuses to putting two superstars on the same line. The positives are apparent: it makes for a pretty formidable unit. The downside is you take a player like Shanahan away from the second line, which might need him even more. We’ll see. But as Tom Renney hinted today, the combination tonight might be nothing more than an opportunity for two players who will certainkly skate on the power play together to get used to one another.
By the way, it’s hard not to have an appreciation for both Shanahan and Jagr’s sense of humor. Both players are closing in on 600 goals (Shanny’s at 598, Jagr at 591), and the running joke is that neither are going to pass to one another once the season starts.
Anyway, here’s the rest of the lineup. Stephen Valiquette gets the nod in net, with Henrik Lundqvist as back-up. With Kevin Weekes still day-to-day, expect those two to flip-flop tomorrow in Boston.
A couple of observations:
* Still in question is how much Jagr will play. If the thinking is for him to play close to a full game in Boston, he might be limited to only a few shifts per period tonight.
* Again, if the thinking is that tomorrow night will be close to an NHL lineup, then what can be deducted from Brandon Dubinsky playing tonight while Nigel Dawes sits? Does it mean that the Rangers have already made up their mind about Dawes but they need a closer look at Dubinsky? And does the same theory apply to Marc Staal? I tried to get something out of Renney on this, but the coach wouldn’t bite.
* Note that Colton Orr and Francis Lessard will be playing together as well — not exactly Gretzky and Kurri. But maybe it makes sense with your star player returning to a potentially hostile environment.
Anyway, plenty more to discuss, but that’s all for now. I’ll have more from the Mausoleum…