Update, 12:50 p.m.: Thomas Pock cleared waivers and will report to Hartford.
Jason Strudwick is in at left wing with Blair Betts and Colton Orr, while Ryan Hollweg will likely play the right side with Brandon Dubinsky and Nigel Dawes. Tom Renney said the decision to not bring anyone up was in part to get Strudwick some ice time, but also a reflection of what he expects from the Devils (one can assume this means a gritty fourth line). That said, Renney didn’t rule out bringing someone up for Saturday since Ryan Callahan is still unlikely.
Continuing from before….
Meanwhile, while Strudwick has practiced at forward this season—remember his day alongside Jagr a few weeks back?—he hasn’t played the position in a game since his first stint with the Rangers in 2005-06.
But he’s obviously a quick learner. Though he was raised a defenseman, Strudwick was tabbed midway through a game in Vancouver a decade ago and has played sporadically ever since. “I hadn’t played forward since I was five and all of a sudden I’m 24 and they said, ‘You want to play wing?’”
His expectations for tonight are obviously to keep things simple. “But who knows, you might score a goal,” he said.
The way things are going, I’m going to count on that not happening.
The mysterious goalie was Chad Killam, a four-year player at Manhattanville and a former teammate of Rangers’ staffer Myles Fee. Talk about trying to boost a struggling team’s confidence: Killam said that while he’s been coaching youth hockey and the goalies at Manhattanville since he graduated in 2004, he hasn’t strapped on the pads since college. Given that, he did decently enough today, but obviously saw plenty of rubber behind him.
According to Renney, the reason Thomas Pock was sent down was to get him playing, even if it meant the risk of losing him to waivers. More in a bit on whether the player cleared or not…
Sean Avery was his usual animated itself after an impressive skate with 15 teammates today—Jagr skated briefly, but no Shanahanh, Drury, Gomez or Lundqvist—and said he has Monday targeted as a comeback. I asked him if he was serious given Renney’s reservations about rushing the player back too soon. “But you saw it,” he said. “I’m close.” Maybe so, but Avery still hasn’t been exposed to contact. He was hoping for that tomorrow, but whether Renney goes along is another story. I still think he has to wait until a week from Saturday before he plays.