You may notice this site of late has been devoid of colorful photos like the one here, mostly because of the computer problems I’ve been contending with over the past few weeks.
Well, loyal readers, my computer is fixed, my cell phone battery has been replaced, and outside of the fact that I’m one of the few people who still uses a wooden hockey stick, I’ve returned completely to the 21st century.
So away we go.
As I type the *U.S. and Canada are immersed in overtime* in the World Junior Championships, and mine might be the only eyes at the MSG Training Center not glued to TSN (what, and not report to you?). It’s on in the fitness room where the likes of Fedor Tyutin, Ryan Hollweg, and Jarkko Immonen are watching while working out. It’s on in one of the offices, where Jed Ortmeyer is sitting alone peering up at the screen. And as we met with Tom Renney just now in the plush Training Center lounge, we all were stealing glances at the screen behind us. “You stand over there so I can look over your shoulder,” Renney joked. As it happened, Canada tied the game at 1-1 right as we were talking, which of course interrupted whatever it was we were talking about.
*Never mind: Canada wins in the seventh round of shootouts. Bastards!*
Among the updates: *Tyutin (ankle), Michal Rozsival (hip flexor and back) and Matt Cullen (rest) all missed practice today*, but are expected to play tomorrow against the resurgent Flyers.
*Marek Malik did practice* and will play tomorrow as well, meaning Renney is likely to sit either Thomas Pock or Darius Kasparaitis. The coach said moving forward he’s likely to platoon defensemen in and out of the lineup, not necessarily because they’re playing poorly, but to distribute the ice time evenly. The reason Pock and Kasparaitis are the most expendable is because they, like Malik, are both lefty, and it’s unlikely Renney wants players skating on the opposite sides. At the same time, both, and Pock especially, are beginning to play better, meaning neither should sit for more than a game at a time.
Meanwhile, how’s this for a good news/bad news scenario for Rangers fans? The good news is “thanks to Marcel Hossa, they beat the Devils in a shootout last night”:http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070103/SPORTS01/701030368/1034/SPORTS. The bad news for those fans clamoring to see Hossa end up in Hartford, Charlotte, or driving the Zamboni at Rye Playland, his efforts last night might only further solidify his spot in the lineup. It’s the same refrain when it comes to Hossa, that in the team’s eyes, he still has a lot of upside provided he simplifies his game. And given who his older brother is, that hasn’t always been a simple task.
“He should feel better about his game. But we have to keep expectations reasonable. He’s not going to be his brother. But he could be darn good valuable NHL player for this team,” Renney said.
I know where a lot of you stand on this, that the Rangers should be giving opportunities to prospects instead of someone like Hossa. The irony, though, is that Hossa is only 25, and Renney views the forward, along with the resurgent Petr Prucha, as part of the Rangers’ investment in young players.
Driving home last night I heard the WFAN’s Steve Somers gushing over the fact that Kasparaitis called in unexpectedly to his show. I asked Kaspar about it today and what followed was the Lithuanian-born Kasparaitis launching into an imitation off Somers’ singular accent. Remarkably, the defenseman pulled it off.
OK, plenty more to discuss. I’m glad to be back full-service.