Jagr a go…

11

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.

Forwards
Shanahan-Nylander-Jag
Straka-Cullen-Hall
Hollweg-Betts-Prucha
Orr-Dubinsky-Lessard

Defense:
Kasparitis-Staal
Rachunek-Malik
A. Ward-Tyutin

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…

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11 Comments

  1. Come on Sam !

    How can you seriously think that a woman is more important to me than the NEW YORK RANGERS ???:)

    I already have split up with her it is just a kind of good bye dinner :)

    I would have joined you either way with our without him :):)

    It is a good idea to have Shanny on the first line tonight because they should get used to play together in a real match other than practice, and even better to practice the powerplay especially when you see that the Rangers didn t perform good powerplays in previous preaseason games….!!!!´
    Orr and Lessard on the same line looks like a little bit boxing action tonight at the mausouleum too :):):)

  2. Matthias —
    There are reasons why I write a hockey blog instead of one on relationships. That said, a beautiful woman always takes precedence over pre-season hockey. C’mon, man. I shouldn’t have to tell you that.

  3. It’s good to have Orr & Lessard in the game tonight if Brendan Witt decides to go crazy on Jagr. The guy already ended Lindros’ season once, don’t want him to do the same to Jags.

  4. Sam – Do you think Immonen’s played his way on the team with his two previous performances? If so, which line do you see him centering and also, should his fans be worried about his chances of making the team considering he’s not in tonite’s lineup?

  5. Hi,

    could you please report how Dubinsky handles the transition game playing with Lessard and Orr? How he transports the puck out from his own end, and how he finds the passinglanes from his end.

    I think, if Dubi gets cut, its because he have had problems with the transition game, he won’t get any help at all in that department from Orr and Lessard, I think Renney are playing him with thoose two to test him, if he can make that line float, he won’t have anyproblems with a Ward and Hossa.

    Thanks on forehand,
    Ola

  6. You’ve got me on that one, Pierre. As I alluded to with Dawes, it may be a simple matter of Renney knowing what he’s got in a player like Immonen and so he doesn’t need another look. That might mean Immonen is a lock to stay in New York, or that he’s a lock to go to Hartford.
    How’s that for ambiguity?
    Actually, here’s the other option, which was presented to me today: Unlike Dubinsky, for instance, Immonen can easily step in for a Michael Nylander or Matt Cullen if need be and center the top two lines. He’s that type of player and he has enough experience.
    Now, that might still mean he starts the year in Hartford, but it also means he’s the team’s top option if someone gets hurt.

  7. Ola —
    How long have you been an NHL scout? That’s actually a very astute observation on your part. As you said, Dubinsky has been paired with upper echelon players and handled himself well. Now the question is whether he can elevate the players around him, since, if he stays, it’s going to be in a fourth line situation. Great call. I’ll let you know what I think after the game — that is if Lessard and Orr aren’t tossed in the first six minutes.

  8. Prediction: Lessard and Orr fight over who is the best fighter during the national anthem and the pair get ejected before the opening face-off.

  9. The “softest hands in Westchester County” circa 1998-99 will be in Section 301 on opening night. Stop by and say hello if you can get out of the press box.

  10. Anyone know if tonight’s game is broadcast on radio in the internet for us foreigners?

    Of course I’m always counting on Sam to provide us with updates throughout the night so not being able to listen wouldn’t be such a huge loss, I guess ;)

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