As expected, the Rangers are turning to the forgotten (not really) Henrik Lundqvist tonight against the Florida Panthers, and will be otherwise employing the same lineup they used in Sunday’s overtime loss to Buffalo.
A few thoughts:
I don’t know much about goalies, other than the fact that I can’t score on them, but this was a needed move. Never mind sending Lundqvist a mesage, if in fact that was ever a consideration. Goalies are not like other players who can simply bear down and try harder. If anything, Lundqvist has been trying TOO hard this year, and in the absence of positive reinforcement, has struggled with his confidence. Sometimes a guy just needs to know he’s THE guy.
Hardly encouraging news on Darius Kasparaitis, who isn’t exactly tearing up the AHL. After a decent start last Wednesday with Hartford, the veteran was playing poorly enough to be benched for most of the third periods of back-to-back games over the weekend, but then had a respectable showing in a win on Sunday (where he was paired alongside another struggling defenseman, Martin Richter). Still, I can’t imagine he’s on his way back to the Rangers. His conditioning assignment, contrary to previous reports that had it at 10 days, is actually two weeks. That means he’ll be with the Wolf Pack at least through the weekend, and then is likely to be waived.
Brendan Shanahan, Jaromir Jagr, and Petr Prucha, all of whom were banged up against Buffalo, will be in the lineup tonight. Prucha will likely still be wearing the full mask he sported after taking a puck to the face on Sunday.
Just had a long conversation with Jed Ortmeyer, who is expected to be taken off blood thinners in a week, and then could start skating with the Rangers soon after. I’ll have more on this in the days to come; in the meantime, one would have to imagine Ortmeyer’s return in, say, early December would seal Nigel Dawes’ return to Hartford. That’s probably a good thing on all fronts. Both Dawes and Thomas Pock are sitting again tonight, but in Dawes’ case, he can go back to Hartford without clearing waivers. If the guy’s going to be wasted, at least let him scores goals somewhere in the process.