It’s true, the most remarkable part of Jarkko Immonen’s arrival in New York is not that he is bound for a scintillating two minutes skating alongside Colton Orr on the fourth line, but that he appears bound for a spot on the second line between Brendan Shanahan and Matt Cullen.
Chris Rutsch/Hartford Wolf Pack
No, that’s not a misprint. I suppose given the Rangers’ recent history, you have reason to be skeptical. I certainly was, but a lot of what has been said here in recent weeks was reiterated by Tom Renney just now.
A brief summary: with Cullen struggling (no goals and just four assists over his last 12 games) and the team starting to realize maybe he’s not the ideal center for Shanahan on the second line, the Rangers figured a true playmaking center like the 24-year-old Immonen might adequately fill the void.
But again, as much as this is a reflection of Immonen’s resurgence after a sluggish start — he has six goals and eight assists in 14 games — it’s also a move based around Cullen, who, for all his persistence, has failed to deliver on his offensive promise, and been a liability at the other end of the ice as well.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I believe we have a guy here thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s really pressing,Ã¢â‚¬? Renney said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“So letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s play to his strengths and use his speed down the outside and crank some pucks on the net and get in on the forecheck and see if we can create a level of comfort and confidence through that means as opposed to all the responsibilities of a center ice man.Ã¢â‚¬?
Cullen admits he’s more comfortable at center, but he’s allowed that he’s struggling so much of late, any change might be worthwhile. And it’s not like he’s getting bumped to the fourth line.
Some other quick hits: