If and when Kevin Weekes requires extensive pschyotherapy for seeing slapshots in his sleep, he might want to send the bill to Rangers coach Tom Renney.
As was the case when Renney threw his backup goaltender out against the surging Buffalo Sabres for Weekes’ first start of the season, Weekes will get start No. 2 tonight against the unbeaten Anaheim Ducks. Man. Hasn’t anyone ever heard of starting slowly?
Anyway, plenty to catch up on. I’m in Hartford, where a big sign was stretched out across the highway saying, “Hartford Welcomes Darius Kasparaitis.” OK, not really. And sadly, there was no sign for me, either.
In the meantime, here’s the rest of the lineup tonight for the Rangers. Please note the reunion of Petr Prucha with Matt Cullen and Brendan Shanahan on the second line, and, drumroll please…Nigel Dawes taking the place of Marcel Hossa on the fourth.
Alas, before you start dancing in the streets, you’ll also see Karel Rachunek is getting the nod in place of Thomas Pock.
So, no, all is not right in Rangerland:
One last thing. I was struck by a thought driving into town to the strains of Uncle Tupelo (a group that is sadly no more), and it goes something like this: You forget how impressive it is for anyone to reach the NHL level.
Here I am in this cavernous minor league arena, and every player who will take the ice tonight has aspirations of getting to the Garden. Below them are players in the East Coast league, and juniors, and Division I college hockey.
The steps any of these guys take to reach the highest level is pretty remarkable. I don’t care if you’re a star like Jaromir Jagr or even a fan punching bag like Rachunek.
I’m not saying you can’t criticize them because that’s part of making the money that they do. But even the worst players in the NHL can still be counted among the best in the world.