Here’s more from Jason Strudwick on his unique experience playing in the Swiss League. Among the more interesting differences (not included below) Strudwick noted is that the top scorer on each team has to wear a yellow jersey, borrowing somewhat on an idea from the Tour de France.
“So after a couple of weeks I was telling the guys if you guys would score when I pass to you I’d be the top scorer,” Strudwick said. “So the next day I come the yellow jersey was in my stall. And our coach was like, if you’re the top scorer on our team, we’re not going to win this year.”[audio:http://lohud.com/audio/rangers/strudwick0319.mp3]
Strudwick loved the experience, but naturally is happy to be back in New York, where Tom Renney hopes he’ll add some poise to a depleted backline. I’m OK with this move, for a number of reasons. One, Strudwick was a popular member of last year’s team and you can tell that he’s already been well received in the room. Moreover, the Rangers had room to work with under the cap, so if for some reason Strudwick doesn’t perform they can always go back to David Liffiton until Fedor Tyutin is ready (the Russian defenseman was working out without a knee brace today in the fitness room).
Liffiton has been good, and I think he’s only going to get better. But what I think hurts him right now is with Thomas Pock also in the lineup, the Rangers are uneasy having so many relatively inexperienced defensemen playing at once. You’ll notice that I didn’t mention Daniel Girardi in that regard, and that’s because Girardi has already clearly won the team’s confidence.
Meanwhile, it should be noted that another young defenseman, Marc Staal, could be made available within the next week or so. The former first round draft pick’s Sudbury Wolves are in the first round of the OHL playoffs this week. But as the No. 6 seed, it’s unlikely they’ll get past No. 3 Mississauga in the first round, meaning Staal could be in New York before long.
And I do think he’ll be with the Rangers seeing how the team seems to be saving one of its four call-ups after the trade deadline for him.