In the absence of penalties that weren’t called last night in Philadelphia — and yes, we’re talking about you, Derian Hatcher — I’ll go ahead and give myself two minutes for failure to dash off a quick post-game correspondence.
My excuse? No lie: there was some beer league hockey game being played on the Wachovia Center ice while I was busy writing “my story for the newspaper”:http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061213/SPORTS01/612130405/1034/SPORTS, and I found myself easily distracted by the action below. Hence, by the time I had filed one story, it was time to bust out of Philly.
Anyway, let’s touch on a few things while they’re still relevant.
My take? It’s funny, I’ve long been torn about the importance of fighting in hockey. I think we’re past the days when teams need to try to intimidate others — mostly because I don’t think a guy like Jaromir Jagr gets intimidated. But I also think the Rangers need to make clear that a run on their best player is intolerable; and it doesn’t matter if the game is close or not. Bear in mind that whatever signal the Rangers gave off last night not only reaches the Flyers, but Dallas, and Toronto, and every other team they have upcoming. And in that regard, maybe challenging Hatcher and risking a loss wouldn’t have been so bad.
“I have to change something and this could be a good thing to me to help me because I was trying everything: on the ice, and in the gym, and nothing helps me,” Prucha said. “So maybe one game is a good break for me.”
Of course, the other side of this is that Prucha was replaced by Colton Orr, who was supposedly inserted into the lineup to provide the Rangers some needed grit. How’d that work out? See above.
Either way, expect Prucha back in the lineup tomorrow against the Stars.
“I put a lot of pressure on him. When he backs off a little, I’ll nudge him on the bench and say, ‘Let’s pick it up.'” Shanahan said.
If that doesn’t get a player going, then there probably isn’t much hope for him.
Meanwhile, the Rangers are 4-0 with Immonen in the lineup. I’m not sure he’s the reason, but they’d be fools to stray from what’s working now.
Anyway, that’s all for now. Let’s talk as the day goes on…