Blair Betts was coy when we asked him what exactly put his spot in the lineup tonight in jeopardy. “If you don’t know already, I guess you’re not supposed to know,” the center said with a smile.
Whatever it is, it’s not enough to keep Betts out tonight in Game 3 against the Thrashers. In fact, it doesn’t sound like any lineup changes are expected, meaning Ryan Hollweg, Brad Isbister, and Karel Rachunek will again be out (while Jason Strudwick continues his role as the “Ranger beat’s best hockey playing blogger”:http://www.newyorkrangers.com).
Tom Renney made it seem like Rachunek is doubtful for Game 4 as well, saying he’s most likely to err on the side of caution. Playoff vagary. You’ve got to love it.
Meanwhile, some other updates:
Today was an optional skate, with the likes of Henrik Lundqvist, Martin Straka Brendan Shanahan, Jaromir Jagr, and Sean Avery all absent. Tomorrow is expected to be an optional as well, the only difference being that it will be at the Garden since the team is staying in the city tonight. Renney was asked if he consulted with veterans like Jagr and Shanahan about their preferred playoff routines , and the coach said he had, also adding that he picked Matt Cullen’s brains about his run with the Canes last year.
Speaking of Cullen, I mentioned I’m on the hook for more TV work with our partner RNN tonight (“NewsCenter Now” between 5 and 7). After a taped interview with the Rangers center, I turned to my cameraman Andrew and asked, “Was that good?”
Cullen was indignant. “What do you mean, ‘Was that good?’ That was perfect,” Cullen said. “Heart-felt, emotional.”
I then pointed to Cullen’s playoff scruff.
“Yeah, but the least you could have done was shave,” I said.
Apologies are in order to Josh Thomson, who I just learned will also be at the game tonight, meaning we’ll have a season-high three staffers on hand. In fact, this will be the first time Josh and I will be in the same spot all year, putting to rest the rumor that we are in fact the same person.
Good to see there are some Hubba fans out there. Let the record show that I’m partial toward chili cheese fries, always with Hubba water. I should add that I don’t think I’ve ever been there before 1 in the morning.
OK, more later…