So long Ryan Callahan, we hardly knew ye.
Maybe it’s for the best that the right wing was shipped to Hartford now that both Jason Ward and Martin Straka will be back in the lineup tonight. Given the pressure cooker that is likely to be Rangers-Islanders, the 21-year-old rookie might have been scrambling even more than he was the other night in Buffalo.
Speaking of which, believe it or not, but there is something resembling a genuine buzz in the hallways outside both the Rangers and Islanders locker rooms. Multiple TV crews. An abundance of reporters. If I didn’t know better, I’d actually think I was covering a major professional sport.
With that, a few quick pre-game hits:
For all the Islanders’ early season success, one person who hasn’t been surprised is Tom Renney, whose history with Isles coach Ted Nolan goes back to their days coaching juniors. The two even squared off against one another in the 1992 Memorial Cup finals, when Renney’s Kamloops team beat Renney’s Sault Ste. Marie. Even after their turbulent off-season, Renney said he still knew the Islanders were going to be a handful, in large part because of Nolan.
You would think that Rangers-Islanders would be right up Darius Kasparaitis’ alley, but the defenseman will be a scratch for the 10th straight game tonight. Renney was again asked about Kaspar’s status, and he reiterated what he’s said for a while now. “He could play,” the coach said. “Again as I’ve said it’s more a case of six guys who have something going, at least to the point where I don’t want to disrupt that just yet.” Asked how Kasparaitis has handled his inactivity, Renney said the veteran has been a model teammate. But the coach knew even that could be fleeting. “I don’t know how much longer I can say that and believe it myself, to be honest. But he’s been great.” Whether this means something’s bound to change soon remains to be seen. But I can’t imagine the Rangers are going to pay Kasparaitis all this money to sit in the press box.
As for the other inactive Rangers defenseman, Thomas Pock is still here despite being offered a conditioning assignment in Hartford. Bear in mind that a conditioning assignment would mean Pock wouldn’t have to go through waivers, so there’s no risk for the Rangers to ship him down for a spell. But it’s worth noting that, according to one Rangers source, teams have been asking about him.
OK, back with more later…