From the MSG Training Center: Fedor Tyutin will indeed skate tonight after missing the last 16 games with a sprained MCL. We suspected this yesterday, “and in today’s story on LoHud.com,”:http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070405/SPORTS01/704050401/1108 but it’s official. Coach Tom Renney said Jason Strudwick will sit.
I asked Renney about what his forward combinations may look like and it appears Petr Prucha will return.
“I’ll make possibly a game-time decision, but I anticipate that Petr will probably go back in,” Renney said. “At who’s expense? I’m not sure yet.”
With that, it led to a question about the power play, which tossed up an 0-fer on Tuesday vs. the Islanders.
“We may toy around with a couple things on the back end,” Renney said. “It comes down to (playing) two units and trying to get pucks on the net.”
So I asked about Matt Cullen possibly getting some work at the point.
“There’s a possibility of that,” Renney said. “Matt’s got a good shot from the point and he can bring the puck up the ice too. I don’t mind him as a forward on the power play. When we’ve tried him on the point in the past, he’s had some tough luck with some shorties against him but that shouldn’t discourage me from using his assets on the point if I choose to.”
It is of note that Montreal has one of the best power plays in the league, so tonight isn’t the night to take dumb penalties. Les Blues are tied with San Jose for first in the NHL at 22.6%.
“Their specialty teams are good,” Renney said. “We have to make sure ours outwork theirs. Obviously, the fewer penalties we take the better for us. We’re a good team 5-on-5, so we want to play as much of the game under those circumstances as possible.”
Obviously, the coach hopes his team takes care of its own business tonight, rather than have to scoreboard watch.
“It’s sort of like the fourth game of a best-of-seven,” Renney said. “We have to nail this down and we have to do it properly. We’d like to do it ourselves and not get in through other mechanisms by someone else beating whomever. We’d like to do it on our own.”
A couple other items:
1. Henrik Lundqvist will not be disciplined for the incident with the Ice Girls. I e-mailed the league and was told the case is closed.
2. Steven Valiquette will serve as the backup. Obviously Hank is in net. (Again, no one asked.)
3. Marcel Hossa and Karel Rachunek remain on the comeback trail. Renney still isn’t sure about Hossa. He said there is a “remote” possibility he could play Saturday in Pittsburgh, but probably not until the playoffs. Rachunek skated yesterday and today but not with the team.
4. Brandon Dubinsky??? Renney said the team has been OK there (with there obviously being center) but that a return by Dubinsky is possible. “It’s certainly something we could entertain,” Renney said.
The question is, with Dubinsky at second-line center, what would the rest of the team look like? Straka to first-line LW? Hossa to third line? Or is it Avery to the third line to grind alongside Cullen? Or is it Hossa back alongside Jagr and Nylander and Straka on the second line?
Obviously, this would give the Rangers several different options. It’s definitely interesting. Tell me what you think…