UPDATE, 4 p.m.: Tom Renney says he hasÃ‚Â Ortmeyer “penciled in”Ã‚Â for tomorrow night against the Devils. StillÃ‚Â unclear is who the right wing would play with, especially since Brendan Shanahan missed practice today with a tender hamstring. WithÃ‚Â Shanahan still expected to play tomorrow, Ortmeyer would likely slide onto either the third or fourth lines, and could possibly be reunited with his old HMO linemate, Ryan Hollweg.
Ã‚Â We’ll know for sure in a couple of hours, but it’s a fairly safe deduction seeing how Jed Ortmeyer had to be called up from Hartford today, and the Rangers are already downÃ‚Â a right wing “given Colton Orr’s five game suspension”:http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070101/SPORTS01/701010344/1046/SPORTS.
I’ll confirmÃ‚Â this after practice, but in the meantime,Ã‚Â an Ortmeyer return would seem to be another encouraging boost for a team that finally revealed signs of character on Saturday night. No, a checking forward with what can be generously described as limited scoring touch isn’t the answer all to the Rangers’ problems. But Ortmeyer’s presence in the lineup, especially given the road he took to get there, certainly helps them re-identiy with the scrappy mentality ofÃ‚Â a season ago.
Meanwhile, what to make of Orr’s suspension? The question asked by many of you is whether this is a blatant double-standard by the NHL. I think it is, but that’s not to say it should be taken as a surprise. Even Tom Renney this season has said the NHL should go to greater lengths of protecting its stars. At the time, of course, he was talking about his own Jaromir Jagr and not Alexander Ovechkin. But the sameÃ‚Â principle still applies.
In the league’s eyes, aÃ‚Â hit on a rising star like Ovechkin is probably worth more than on a stay-at-home defenseman like Aaron Ward (whichÃ‚Â is also ironic, sinceÃ‚Â Ward himself has said the NHL needs toÃ‚Â do more to marketÃ‚Â itsÃ‚Â high-profile players). Double standard? Yes. Unfair? Possibly. But a surprise? Far from it.