A curious sight in the Rangers dressing room after practice today: a dozen or so players opening up their paychecks and staring quizzically at the page ahead for several moments. I never asked what the issue was, although there’s always the chance these guys still don’t believe they get paid the money they do (“Don’t they know I’m a fourth-line wing?”).
Of course, there’s also Aaron Ward, who opened up his envelope and yelled to anyone who’d listen, “Holy Uncle Sam!”
Somehow I don’t think anyone’s mustering much sympathy.
Anyway, some odds and ends a day before the Rangers meet the Devils for a fifth time on Tuesday:
Where have you been, Jason Krog? No, let’s not start sculpting the Hall of Fame bust just yet, but the consensus was the center fared admirably in his Rangers debut on Saturday, both in the face-off circle and in creating some offensive chances. Still, you have to wonder why the former Hobey Baker winner hasn’t really stuck as an NHL player; and when I asked my “fellow UNH Wildcat”:http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/2007/01/12/rangers-claim-jason-krog-off-waivers-from-atlanta/ how he’d describe his pro career, he offered a simple response: “A roller-coaster.” Krog then went into detail about injuries and numbers games, about recapturing his offensive spark while playing in Europe, but then failing to capitalize on his opportunities playing alongside Marian Hossa and Vyacheslav Kozlov in Atlanta. To be clear, Krog wasn’t making excuses, and he said his hope is that he can mesh well with the Rangers.
“Every situation is different, but I definitely like the style of hockey they play here,” he said. “I think it’s more of a puck possession game. But it works different for different people. But I’m excited to be here. Hopefully I can help the team.”
Speaking of Krog, I made the mistake today of telling Matt Cullen that Krog and I overlapped for a year at UNH. I say “mistake” because there was me talking to Krog after practice, and there was Cullen on an exercise bike about 15 feet away, leaning forward and laughing as if at any moment we were going to embrace like long lost fraternity brothers. “He’s mocking me,” I said to Krog. “He mocks everybody,” said Krog, who played with Cullen in Anaheim.
After breaking up his traditional defensive pairings on Saturday, Tom Renney reunited those units today, citing as one reason the “synchronicity” between the top foward line and Michal Rozsival and Marek Malik. Meanwhile, outside the top group, the forward lines were revamped again, with Brendan Shanahan skating with Blair Betts and Marcel Hossa; Krog at center between Cullen and Jed Ortmeyer; and a fourth unit of Petr Prucha, Ryan Hollweg, and either Colton Orr or Adam Hall. As for Jason Ward, the forward was paired with Darius Kasparaitis at defense, which isn’t a good sign for either.
Both Cullen and Aaron Ward were debating whether to ask Glen Sather for permission to join their old Carolina Hurricanes teammates for a Feb. 2 visit to the White House. Cullen’s initial reaction was the two couldn’t go because it precedes an away game in Tampa Bay the next day. But Ward was arguing that it could work. Last I saw the two were both in the hallway talking to Renney.
OK, that’s all for now. More later…