Sorry folks, this is not Sam but former RangersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ beat writer Andrew Gross, who for one glorious day is getting to relive all the fun of being around a hockey rink.
Remembered how to get to the Nassau Coliseum (not hard, considering itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s right across the street from the JetsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Hofstra facility) but I have to admit, the one thing that struck me walking into the RangersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ dressing room is just how much turnover thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been since I switched beats in July.
Ten of the 22 guys on tonightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s roster are new and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not even counting the fact that Aaron Ward and Adam Hall, not to mention Pascal Dupuis have passed through the room this season.
As for news on tonightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s rematch of TuesdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s thrilling 2-1 shootout win over the Islanders, defenseman Paul Mara is definitely going to play. He told me while his shoulder is still sore, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nothing to keep him off the ice.
“Everybody at this point of the season has bumps and bruises,Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ Mara said.
Mara is likely to be paired with Karel Rachunek tonight. I asked Rangers coach Tom Renney if there were any thoughts of dressing seven defensemen tonight and he said, “ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a thought, but thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about it.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬â„¢
Also spoke to Islanders captain Alexei Yashin, whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be back on the ice after missing 16 games. Islanders coach Ted Nolan expressed no concern that the mercurial Yashin will have any trouble assimilating back into the lineup. It looks like heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll skate with Miroslav Satan and Viktor Kozlov. Yashin said his biggest concern is playing his injured knee back into game shape.
As for the Rangers, the lines from yesterdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s skate still seem to be in place:
Martin Straka-Brandon Dubinsky (first NHL game)-Brad Isbister
Sean Avery-Michal Nylander-Jaromir Jagr
Petr Prucha-Matt Cullen-Jed Ortmeyer (spent a little time catching up with him as he watched his Michigan Wolverines face Minnesota in the first round of the Big Ten tournament)
Colton Orr-Blair Betts-Ryan Hollweg
Also in the catching up department, subtitled the how-time-flies department, had a nice chat with Islanders backup goalie Mike Dunham, who did not fare so well in his attempt to replace Mike Richter on Broadway. Dunny reminded me that his oldest child, a daughter, is now four. Since I remember talking to Dunham in Montreal about her impending birth, it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seem like four years ago.
More kudos to Dunham, he actually remembered my first name.
Anyway, thanks for letting me chime back in, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be getting Mr. Weinman back shortly enough. Meanwhile, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be afraid to say hi over at “Jets Journal,”:http://jets.lohudblogs.com/, NJ Mark can vouch for me if anybody needs references.