A frantic morning led to a late start, so apologies are in order (along with thanks to Josh Thomson for pinch-hitting late last night).
First, the basics: the Rangers have not called anyone up from Hartford, and will instead insert the recently scratched Marcel Hossa into the first line spot alongside Jaromir Jagr and Chris Drury, in turn dropping Martin Straka down alongside Scott Gomez and Brendan Shanahan. On defense, Paul Mara skated again with Marc Staal, which would suggest that Jason Strudwick will again be a scratch alongside Thomas Pock.
But it’s early yet, and Tom Renney conceded he was going to at least talk to management about bringing someone up from Hartford as an extra forward. But it doesn’t sound like that’s imminent, and even if it is, it would likely only be someone called up for insurance purposes as a 13th forward (remember both Strudwick and Pock also play forward, so that’s an 11th hour option as well).
As for Sean Avery’s mindset after his injury, it’s safe to say it’s less than rosy seeing how he declined to talk just now. But the season pushes forward, and Avery’s loss is Hossa’s gain. The idea to pair the wing with Jagr makes sense since the two showed chemistry playing together last year; and given the similarities between the explosive styles of both Avery and Straka, it could come at minimal disruption to the second line.
“I came to play for this team,” Hossa said when I asked about his benching the first two games. “When the coach makes a decision, I have to live with that. And as soon as he pencilsme into the lineup, I have to be ready.”
We’ll see how this all shakes out against the Islanders on Wednesday. Given the fireworks between the two teams in this preseason, it seems like the very sort of game Avery would want to be a part of. But for now, he’ll be forced to watch from afar.