That’s right, Sam had a reprieve from Rangers practice today, so I’m back in the fold for another day. The rumor is that Sam spent the morning formulating his comeback to my assault against UNH. So here’s what I have to offer, the two words UNH fans hear every time they visit BU’s Agannis Arena: “Safety school.”
Now I digress. The Rangers had a pretty spirited practice today. From what I saw, they worked on 5-on-5 situations in the offensive zone, a lot of which seemed to take place in the corners. Afterward, they did a number of sprints that had not been part of previous practices I’d seen, although for me personally it’s been a fairly small sample size. By the end of sprints, some of the guys were dripping sweat and breathing pretty hard. Everyone participated in practice today but Jed Ortmeyer, who missed today with a case of the flu. Tom Renney reiterated that Ortmeyer will probably have to spend time in Hartford before joining the big club.
Renney had a few more interesting things to say after practice about Tuesday’s game. (By the way, as an aside, our talk with Renney took place in the players lounge, which has incredibly comfortable black leather chairs. Seriously, I cannot imagine there is a better chair in the universe than the one I sat in today.) Renney felt the Rangers played well on special teams, but that they were mostly flat, as was Atlanta. He seemed pleased that they took a 3-1 lead despite lacking energy, then noted that it probably came back to bite them in the end.
He also had two good quotes on Adam Hall, who, as you all know, “broke his scorless string with two goals Tuesday”:http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061129/SPORTS01/611290387/1046/SPORTS .
1. “It’s important that I continue to give him opportunities Ã¢â‚¬â€ even if he’s playing down (on the third or fourth line) Ã¢â‚¬â€ that he’s still on the second power-play line.”
2. “You may see his deployment change through the rest of the season, based on how he played last night.”
Clearly, Renney seems intent on Hall being a part of the offense. I guess last night showed what he’s capable of, so expect to see more Ã¢â‚¬â€Ã‚Â not less Ã¢â‚¬â€Ã‚Â of Hall.
Also, my story tomorrow will focus on Martin Straka, who is playing some of the best hockey of his career. I give him credit. I knew he was small, but I’d never met him before today and let me tell you: He is SMALL. But Renney had some very positive words on Straka’s work ethic and the example he sets in the locker room for the other Rangers. That’s why Straka earned the “A” on his sweater.
“It wasn’t a reward,” Renney said. “It was recognition.”
More on that tomorrow.