Here are some tidbits from practice today:
1. Brendan Shanahan and Matt Cullen sit out: No cause for alarm. Both were just banged up last night and need the break, according to Tom Renney, and Renney said they should return to the ice tomorrow. For what it’s worth, both were in the weight room after practice, so they must be fine. Neither came into the locker room and were thus unavailable.
“Just some minor aches and pains we thought we’d take care of,” Renney said.
2. Jed Ortmeyer is getting close to returning to the ice: After yesterday’s call-up, this is hardly breaking news. Renney said they’ll look at Ortmeyer again at practice tomorrow, then decide what to do (although that’s what he said yesterday). Renney isn’t sure whether Ortmeyer will be activated or sent back to Hartford for another conditioning assignment. Ortmeyer felt he got rid of some rust and is ready to play. He’s no longer taking medication and feels 100 percent healthy.
“We’re going to see him tomorrow and watch him very closely again,” Renney said. “I think we’re getting closer to getting him in the lineup, whether that happens right away here or if we send him to Hartford for a couple more games remains to be seen.”
“It’s their decision,” Ortmeyer said about possibly going back to Hartford. “Of course, I want to stay here and I want to play as soon as possible, but they’re making the decisions. If I go there, it’s not going to change my attitude or the way I approach things. I’ll try and get ready to get in the lineup again. If it means going down there and playing, that’s what I’ll do.”
“I got the rust off and got the adrenaline going,” Ortmeyer said. “Now it’s just seeing where I fit and what I have to do.”
“There’s no medical issues,” he added. “I just have to be aware of symptoms, but other than that they’ve cleared me to go.”
3. Renney is undecided on Straka: I asked Renney twice if he had a feeling for where Martin Straka will play Friday. He wasn’t sure yet, but said Straka can play anywhere. I’m sure many of you will disagree.
“There is some chemistry that you can appreciate with Michael and Jaromir,” Renney said.
Petr Prucha played a little on the first line, even before Nylander went out, but Renney said it wasn’t specifically to get Prucha going. “We need scoring from everybody, naturally, and Petr’s one of those guys that has a good touch. I think he can provide that pretty much anywhere in our lineup.”
4. Lampman had earned a look: That’s essentially how Renney termed the decision to promote Bryce Lampman over Baranka or Girardi, who he singled out by name for their strong play. Again, he wasn’t sure if Lampman will play Ã¢â‚¬â€ the health of Marek Malik may impact that, he said Ã¢â‚¬â€ but the staff wanted a look at him since it’s so difficult for the NHL guys to catch Hartford. Renney said the Hartford staff recommends players and that they’ve done well so far. He noted Pock’s strong play yesterday and Immonen’s continued contributions.
“We may do something there,” Renney said of playing Lampman. “It may depend on Marek, but we just wanted to get educated a little bit.”
5. Nylander contrite: Michael Nylander Ã¢â‚¬â€ who, as you know, was benched for the third period, along with others like Jason Ward, Darius Kas, and Marcel Hossa Ã¢â‚¬â€ was very contrite today. The penalty wasn’t intentional Ã¢â‚¬â€ he told me he tried to hook Martinek’s stick and that his just slipped high Ã¢â‚¬â€ but Nylander understood the benching; it was a penalty he couldn’t take.
“Of course, you want to play and help the team and go from there,” Nylander said. “But the reason was the penalty was a double-minor. … Our team has taken a lot of penalties in the past. We want to be disciplined and stay out of the box. I think Tom had seen a lot of penalties in the past and he wanted to set an example.”
“If we’re going to win hockey games, we have to stay out of the penalty box,” Nylander added. “That was one way to show the team.”
Renney felt Nylander was working hard on the play in question but that he had overextended his shift. Nylander was told that, but he said the penalty itself was the tipping point.
“I think the biggest part was the penalty,” Nylander said.
6. A little fun and games: An intense practice lasted about 10 or 15 minutes longer than normal, but about 30 minutes more after that there were still two players on the ice and I saw them as I left the rink: Your goalie, Henrik Lundqvist, and your captain, Jaromir Jagr, were playing the hockey equivalent of a 1-on-1.
I only saw them briefly – they left not long after I started watching them – but a helmetless Jagr basically lined up three pucks between the circles and took each at Lundqvist, sort of a shootout at short range. Jagr was thwarted on his first two tries but pumped the third past Lundqvist on a short wrister. I got the idea Lundqvist had proclaimed he’d stop all three because he seemed annoyed Jagr beat him. Either way, you should be glad to know they not only left the ice last but they were sweating profusely. The moral? I don’t think Jagr has quit on the Rangers, as many of you have said. He wouldn’t have been out there otherwise.