We were duped!

8

I never claimed to be all that bright, and today serves as the latest example.

It turns out the infamous pairing of Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan that “we all debated ad nauseum yesterday”:http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/2006/10/04/68/ is not going to happen after all — or at least not for tonight’s season opener against the Capitals.

Because there were the Rangers on the ice for their morning skate at the MSG Training Center today, and there was Jagr back with his usual line of Michael Nylander and Martin Straka. And there was Shanahan on the right side of a line with Petr Prucha and Matt Cullen.

Am I a total fool? Perhaps. But at least I’m not the only one.

Almost everyone else went along with Rangers coach Tom Renney when he said the Jagr-Shanny tandem would be in place for tonight. And that includes Jagr himself, who said today he assumed the line he practiced with yesterday was the one he’d start the season with.

When Renney was asked about the reversal, the coach smiled and said “Editorial privilege.” Then he alluded to what he had said last week, about having the two star forwards practicing together as a way to develop some chemistry for the power play.

What he didn’t elaborate on, but was clearly implied, was that he liked the idea of throwing everyone off guard. Point taken.

Meanwhile, the other big news for tonight is that Darius Kasparaitis will be a scratch and replaced by Thomas Pock. This you could have seen coming given Kasparaitis’ inconsistent play of late, and Renney said it was indeed a reflection of the defenseman not being in NHL shape after surgeries to both his shoulder and groin.

“We have to help him along,” Renney said.

Are Kasparaitis’ days in New York numbered? Hardly. Renney instead said that the team will be relying on him this year, but that he just needs more time.

Anyway, here’s the rest of the lines for tonight:

Forwards:
Straka-Nylander-Jagr
Prucha-Cullen-Shanahan
Dawes-Betts-Hall
Hossa-Hollweg-J. Ward

Defense:
Tyutin-A. Ward
Malik-Rozsival
Pock-Rachunek

King Henrik, who was the subject of an “aforementioned Cindy Adams column”:http://www.nypost.com/seven/10052006/gossip/cindy/i_froze_to_hail_goalie_as_king_cindy_cindy_adams.htm today, starts season No. 2 between the pipes.

Still no word on Jagr being named captain.

“More deception on my part,” Renney said.

I think I’ve had enough for one day. I’ll have more later from the Garden…

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8 Comments

  1. sam- any word from tom when kaspar will be good to go? this is really dissapointing that he will not be in the lineup tonight.

  2. Sam, As much as I want to find out if Shanny is playing on the top line or just will be paired on the power play with Jaromir Jagr, the most important ingredient for success this season will be the fact, how good some players on the rosters can deal with the pressure of the bright lights of Broadway to reach something when they had almost no pressure to perform last season when everybody picked them at last of 30 teams…

    “Nobody’s going to take us lightly anymore, and that was our advantage last year the first 20 games,” said Jagr, who set team records with 54 goals and 123 points last season. “A lot of teams thought they were going to come here and easily take two points and go home.”

    Said forward Michael Nylander: “That’s a difference. Now people expect something.”

    Well, I mean everybody of this guys can play hockey but today´s game will be decided mentally in the head. I think that guys like Jagr, Shanahan, Lundqvist, Kaparitis or Nylander would be able to deal with the pressure but a lot will depend about the ( as you called them) group of supporting players like Hollweg, Ortmeyer, Ward, Dawes and others to repeat their individual efforts. Par exemple we saw lot of the so called HMO- Line ( Hollweg-Moore-Ortmeyer) very often being a pest for the opponents top line. Everybody picked to be last on the previous season but there are lot of voices talking about the Rangers a real contender for the Cup this season ! When even a Larry Brooks is writing about a cup for the Rangers, I suppose that puts even more pressure on those players reading the papers.

    I don´t want to be sounded as too much pessimistic, but it remains to be seen if the guys can deal with the pressure. As much as I want the Rangers go deep into the playoffs, let`s wait to see the first 10 or 15 games to review this question again…!!!!

  3. I guess it was a case of any press is good press with regards to Renney’s aforementioned “deceptions”. Certainly there has been endless talk on the internet about the pros and cons of who plays with who etc

    Time to forget line combinations, which prospects are dressed and of course that unfortunate end to the 2005-06 season. The 2006-07 Rangers season is almost upon us and for the first time since 1998-99 the Rangers will be opening their season at home.

    I won’t be there for the puck drop tonight (will be at the Flyers game on Saturday however), but I will of course be watching.

    Good luck to the Rangers and lets hope that we’re set for another successful season.

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