You wouldn’t be fans and I wouldn’t be a reporter if our own doubts didn’t come to surface on occasion. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m still willing to believe what happened in Montreal was an inevitable setback given the level the Rangers were enjoying. But it still may be time to shake things up.
Among the suggestions:
*Move Sean Avery back to wing:* Hindsight is a beautiful thing, but I actually had reservations about using Avery at center right from the start. The reasons: for all of Avery’s redeeming qualities — and we all agree there have been many — he may be too reckless for what the Rangers need out of a center. Conversely, being saddled with the defensive responsibilities that come with playing in the middle can detract from Avery’s ability to play on edge, his greatest strength.
*Break up the top line and put Michael Nylander with Brendan Shanahan:* We’re also in agreement that the 38-year-old Shanahan hasn’t been stellar in his four games since returning from a concussion. But the guy will still be able to shoot a puck when he’s collecting his pension and drinking prune juice. Giving him a playmaker like Nylander who can assume most of the puck-handling will still utilize his most immediate assets while also allowing him time to get back his legs.
*Bring back Brandon Dubinsky to play center:* Granted, this is unlikely. But if you want Avery back at wing, you now need another center. Yes, the most immediate option is Marty Straka, but that’s another player who isn’t 100 percent, so it’s probably not the right time to be asking him to play out of his natural position. Moreover, I thought Dubinsky was impressive in his short time with the team. So even if it’s a short-term solution, it’s an immediate way to provide the team with a jolt.
*Bring back David Liffiton to at least to skate with the big club:* It’s looking more and more like Fedor Tyutin will return before the end of the regular season. But there is the good chance he won’t be fully healed, not to mention the prospect that another defenseman could go down as well in what will be five physical remaining games. If there’s a chance the Rangers are going to need Liffiton, then they need to give him time to get acclimated to the speed of the NHL game — even if it’s only in practice.
*Move Marek Malik to left wing:* Just making sure you’re paying attention.
More from practice later..