When I was 11 years old and I dreamed about one day being a sportswriter (by that age, it was very apparent I’d never make it as a hockey player) I never thought I’d spend so much time asking grown men about the state of their groins.
It’s glamorous stuff, I know, but that is what a job following the Rangers necessitates these days. First you have Kevin Weekes and Darius Kasparaitis working their way back into playing shape after sustaining groin injuries before the season; and now you have defenseman Aaron Ward, who sat out today’s practice because of a tweak in the same area.
Ward said he first felt something in the second period in Philadelphia on Saturday, but that some treatment from the Rangers’ trainers got him through the game. Now the question is whether he’ll be ready for tomorrow night’s rematch with the Flyers at the Garden. As expected, Tom Renney said they’ll re-evaluate Ward in the morning; and Ward, for his part, said if it were up to him, he’d play.
But if I’ve learned anything in the past couple of weeks, it’s that the groin is a mysterious area,
And yes, to answer your question, I’m aware of how odd that sentence sounds.
Anyway, a couple of other tidbits:
— Not sure if this is a good sign, a bad sign, or significant of nothing at all, but the Dolan family has made a bid to buy out Cablevision shareholders in an effort to take the company — which of course, owns the Rangers — private. Now, seeing how I can’t even balance a checkbook, I don’t know what this means for the Rangers, and the team, as expected, had no comment today. But I suppose the most pressing question is whether giving the Dolans more control is something you want. If some of you want to offer your insights, I’ll try to look into the matter further.
— Perhaps I’m making something of nothing, but I spent some time today pressing both Renney and Weekes about when the backup goaltender will play his first game. Maybe it’s not an urgent matter — especially the way Henrik Lundqvist, the team’s No. 1, is playing — but I can’t help think that you need to get both your goaltenders some steady work if you’re going to use both down the road.
For one, you don’t want to overwork Lundqvist at this early stage in the season. But for another, I’d have to think it’s important for a goalie’s confidence to actually see some time in a real game as opposed to just playing in practice. Part of the problem, if you want to call it that, is that the Rangers schedule is fairly manageable right now, without a back-to-back game until next month on the West Coast. That allows them to use Lundqvist quite often. But again, you don’t want to let Weekes sit too long if you expect him to be sharp.
— Kasparaitis is indeed getting closer to playing, and the Ward situation might mean he plays tomorrow against the Flyers. It’s worth noting that he practiced alonside Ward’s normal playing partner, Fedor Tyutin, in Ward’s absence.
Again, it all comes down to groins. I’m serious.