Where’d everybody go?

31

Greetings from the bowels of the Wachovia Center, where the estimable Steve Zipay and I finally arrived after taking what can be generously described as the scenic route to Philadelphia. Note to self: next time you miss an exit for the N.J. Turnpike, turn back around and get it. Leave the free-lancing to the likes of Jagr and Straka.

But the important thing is I’m here, and as I noted yesterday, Thomas Pock is not. After originally declining a conditioning assignment to Hartford, the 25-year-old defenseman finally relented, meaning after weeks of just practicing will have to re-acquaint himself with the rules of an actual hockey game (“Icing? What’s icing?”).

“He isn’t resistant to anything that’s going to help his career,” Tom Renney said. “In his mind, he thought staying was going to help his career, and at this point in time, he thought playing was more important.”

As it happens, Pock will be joined by another Ranger, Jed Ortmeyer, who was sent to Hartford on a “conditioning loan” eligible to players who have had long-term injuries. Ortmeyer, too, will play some games for the Wolf Pack, and from there, it’s up for the team to decide what it wants to do. And as much as Renney and Co. might welcome Ortmeyer’s energy back in the lineup, it doesn’t sound like it’s something they’re willing to rush. So stay tuned…

In other news:

  • As it happens, this might have been the one game Pock could have snuck into the lineup since Aaron Ward is battling a flu bug. Renney said he’ll make a game-time decision on the defenseman, and right now his only other option is Sandis Ozolinsh.
  • The goaltending saga continues: If you figured that Henrik Lundqvist would surely be back in the lineup after missing Sunday night, you’d be……wrong! Kevin Weekes gets the start again, and as much as that could be a reflection of his strong play Sunday against Florida, Renney said this was something he had mapped out beforehand. Also part of that plan is for Lundqvist to start Thursday in Dallas (although not against his brother Joel, who was returned to the AHL), but I’m surprised to hear Renney say he had long planned to have Weekes start back-to-back games. Then again, neither Florida or the Flyers (who will be without a number of players, including Peter Forsberg) are going to be confused with the Soviet Red Army, so maybe these are the games to do it.

    OK, folks, that’s all for now. Back with more later…

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    31 Comments

    1. no article in the paper today? shame on you sam…you’ve been in the game 4 months and already think you’re a diva who can miss an article :) j/k of course

    2. Is it Tonny or Tony?

      Anyway…. both goalies played good games over the weekend, and Lundqvist will get PLENTY of starts from here on ouut, so don’t worry about poor Henke ;o)

    3. Pretty suprised that weekes is starting in back to backs- though he was good on the west coast trip, didnt he struggle last year in back to back games, where as he excelled in the random game here and there?

    4. Sam,

      I know it has been a while since Pock played… but he is in fact a lefty and, other than being better than Ozo, would not help in replacing Ward’s right-handed shot.

    5. Rangers should romp. ill miss this one, going to my grandmothers funeral in a short while.

      im sure you guys will let me know how it went :)

    6. not fair at all for henrik. he was lights out against pitta and ottawa and this is what he gets just because weekes beat florida?!!?!? not right. weekes’ next game should have been toronto i mean thats an easy decision IIIIIIIIIMMMMMMOOOOOOOOO

    7. Don’t see there’s any major trauma if Ward can’t go tonight. Seems obvious to put Kaspar and Tyutin together, as they played together most of last year, and Ozo with Rachunek, as they’ve played together the majority of their games this season.

      To be honest, Ward seems to have lost a step from the start of the season, so having him take a break for a game — especially since the schedule coming up is so hectic — doesn’t really bother me.

      I also had a gut feeling that Weekes would get the second start tonight. Seemed obvious given the quality of the opponent and the schedule over the next couple weeks. I just hope the rest of the team doesn’t take the decimated Flyers lineup too lightly, as they’ve been known to do in the past…

    8. Hopefully Ward plays tonight having Ozo and Rachunek in the lineup could spell doom espically with Weekes in net.

    9. For goal, Renney said that he maps out the starts for each month ahead of time and will only make a change to that for a compelling reason. A win or loss itself probably does not qualify for a compelling reason (or loss for that matter) and either (probably) does not dictate who starts the next game.

      Look – there both playing well. It is good that they are both ready and solid. Why does either need a reward?

    10. The Rangers are going to romp? Let’s hope so, but overconfidence is a true sports killer and the Rangers do have a tendency to play to the level of their opponents…

      Sam, what’s been Ozo’s demeanor since his demotion?

    11. As bad as Philly is this year, they always give the Rangers trouble, especially in Philadelphia (even though the Rangers played well there last year and have a shootout win there this year).

      At one point this season, the Flyers only had 3 points. All 3 of them came against the Rangers. In the Flyers win at MSG in October, they came out flying and the Rangers looked awful.

      This isn’t a guaranteed 2 points like it should be (and like Florida should’ve been).

    12. Yeah the weekes thing isn’t as big of a deal, he played solid the other night… and it’s not ‘back to back’ games in the true sense of the phrase…. we got a day off…. This month is a tough one, and Lundy will get alot of work… Although if it were me I might’ve played Henrik tonight.

      Tell Wardo to take some of that stuff that messier endorses… whatever it’s called exoprin or something?

      Either way though, they better not take this philly team lightly. This has potential to be a real momentum and moral builder or an absolute disaster…. lets try to stray from the latter tonight boys

    13. This recent ESPN headline forced me to do a double take…
      “Rangers agree to one-year deal with closer Gagne” I suppose the “closer” may have given it away…

    14. Lundqvist is not being “punished”. I’m glad Renney remembers that Weekes has a very good record against Philly.

    15. Well, at least Nedved won’t be there to somehow have a classic former Ranger career night against them.

    16. True Fans bleed RW&B on

      Oh yea – i remember that great weekes’ record in Philly…and a Gagne 7 second OT game-winner when he set a new NHL record. haha

      goalbyPrucha, I really don’t know his record in Philly I just remember that goal last year. Overall, I do think its good to give Lundqvist (and Ward who’s especially been slipping/struggling) some time off. That said, I still don’t feel comfortable when 30’s not in net.

    17. Lundqvist not playing has NOTHING to do with punishment, or who is palying better…its about 10 games in 17 nights (I think that started 2 games agao) and there are Patches in those 10 games that you want King to get most or all of…this is a good time to rest him AND give weekes a chance to get some confidence built up, why play Lundqvist? So his feelings dont get hurt? If that is how he is going to be, and what people think, I never want to hear about Jagr being selfish withough Lundqvist mentioned, Lundqvist is a pro, he is a goali, he dosnt start every game, he wont be hurt by this, actuly, I think his confidence will go up, he is only to be used in games were the team needs the best …that would me me feel good :)

    18. You are still missing someone to help you out….You are overwhelmed, overhauled and burned out. Give someone different the chance to fix it…:)

    19. It´s seems to me that NOBODY is taking care of you. You still having the wrong time on your computer carrying the summer time ….poor guy.

      What a shame that is…You missing the right exit on the way to Wachovia Center ??? Why don´t you takte the Amtrak which is very comfortable to go to Philley???

      I hope you have a safe return home after the game. If I would be your wife, I wouldn´t have let you go, of course…..:)

    20. Inferno, my condolences about your grandma…

      as far as Hank is concerned, he deserves the start….out of the upcomming games, this SHOULD be the easiest start for the keepeers to have to make, hence why he prolly has Weekes in, but i still wish it would have been Hank to keep him on a roll…

      AZ

    21. Patrick Hoffman on

      Feel free to comment on My Game Preview Taken from HockeyBuzz:

      The New York Rangers (16-10-4) will take on the banged-up Philadelphia Flyers (8-17-4) tonight at the Wachovia Center for the teams’ third meeting this season. The Rangers won the first game in a 13-round shootout in Philly while the Flyers dominated the Rangers at the Garden in a convincing 4-2 victory back on October 16th.

      However, this meeting finds the two teams headed in different directions. The Rangers are looking to extend their winning streak to four games, as they are coming off wins over the Pittsburgh Penguins (13-11-5), Ottawa Senators (15-15-1) and Florida Panthers (10-16-6). During the streak, the Rangers have gotten timely goal-scoring from their top line and Shanahan (as always) while also getting strong goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist and backup Kevin Weekes.

      The Flyers, on the other hand, continue to struggle this season and are currently trying to stray away from the basement of the league, as they have dropped their last three games. Not helping this streak is the Flyers’ depleted bench as Peter Forsberg, Geoff Sanderson, Joni Pitkanen, Sami Kapanen and goaltender Robert Esche are all out with injuries. In their place, are six rookies and 21-year-old goaltender Martin Houle.

      Most teams would see this as an easy way to pick two points. However, the Rangers cannot look at the game this way. They need to look at it as a way to get points in their division, as a way to play solid team hockey and as a way to show that last season was no fluke. In fact, a win tonight would give the Rangers sole possesion of first place in the Atlantic Division.

      Expect the Rangers to come out hard as they want to start off their three-game road trip on the right foot and continue their strong play.

    22. I would have liked to see Pock step in for a few games, but he shouldn’t take the conditioning stint as a demotion, just a chance to play. And who cares if he is a righty or lefty shot. I know he is use to playing the left side, but the off-hand point shot isn’t a bad thing. Just because he’s a lefty doesn’t mean he can’t play the right side.

      As for Immo not being able to skate, people said the same thing about Adam Graves back in the day, and he turned out to be a pretty solid player.

    23. Pock played right D in his first go-round with the Rangers. he played 6 games in ’04, and he was on the right side. even though he shoots left, he can play either side.

    24. tommy boy: I tihnk once he dosnt cost as much…lets say at the deadline, he would be a good chip…but unless its something comeing back for a re-build i wouldnt move him. The team likes the guy, he is saposed to be really good in the locker room, and he is a good backup, even if he dose make alot for a backup. I just think that if this team makes the playoffs, and I tihnk they will, that I would like to see them go as far as possible, and Weekes could, and would most likely have a big hand in that. Lundqvist is great, but he is still a young goali, and having weekes there may make him a little more confident and keep some pressure off of him. I would like to see him NOT be traded…but if the right deal comes along, well…its buisness…

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