I realize I said the other day that Colton Orr was a possibility against the Flyers, but this time I’m certain of it. OK, not certain, but pretty sure.
Tom Renney said Orr’s going to play, so unless the coach is making a habit of toying with us, count on the team’s enforcer to be on the right wing on the fourth line tonight with Jason Ward and Ryan Hollweg (where Ward will return to center).
Of course, this also means that Nigel Dawes gets another taste of NHL life: a seat in the stands as a healthy scratch. I wouldn’t read too much into it. While Renney said he’s already had a talk with the rookie about some of his reads on certain plays, he also said he’s been impressed with Dawes’ play as a whole — and that the switch was also a reflection of not wanting to let Orr sit too long.
Of greater concern is the fact that Dawes played a meager four minutes against the Flyers. At that rate, you could have me out there and it wouldn’t make a difference, but that’s a challenge within the current NHL: with more penalties being called, with TV timeouts extended to two minutes, and with another two minutes tacked on to intermissions, teams are able to go to their top lines more often while a fourth line player becomes more irrelevant.
Either way, though, my guess is Dawes is back for Saturday’s game at Buffalo.
Meanwhile, some other quick hits:
* Jaromir Jagr skated for less than 10 minutes this morning and later admitted his conditioning — namely his strength — isn’t where he wants it to be. Again, Jagr said he’s still feeling the effects of not doing anything for five months.
“So at this point,” I said, “you almost feel like you normally would during the second week of training camp.”
Jagr thought for a moment. “More like the first week,” he said, then broke out laughing.
The guy might be one of the best players in the world, but he’s a total goofball.
* Not surprisingly after yesterday’s melodrama, Darius Kasparaitis is not in the lineup and is still day-to-day. As for Sandis Ozolinsh, the defenseman had a third straight day without swelling in his knee, which Renney said is a sign that he’s close to returning. The team still wants to see what the next week is like, but the Rangers could soon have even more of a logjam on defense.
Plus, there’s Brian Leetch….
I’m kidding. Kind of.