Just when Marc Staal and Michal Rozsival had found their groove as the Rangers’ top defensive pairing, that pesky third wheel Marek Malik had to intervene.
Actually, blame this one on Paul Mara, who ended up spraining his shoulder on the hit from Trent Hunter last night and is almost certainly out tomorrow against the Senators. That leaves Tom Renney with a most unenviable choice: break up the promising duo of Staal and Rozsival, or slide Malik in alongside Jason Strudwick for the most combustible pairing this side of Karel Rachunek and Sandis Ozolinsh.
Renney looks like he’ll be going with the former, meaning Malik and Rozsival, a mainstay of the previous two seasons, will be back together; while Staal will take Mara’s spot with Strudwick. For Malik, it will be his first appearance since injuring his rib Nov. 1 against Washington.
“I was going out of my mind not playing,” Malik said of his absence from the lineup.
I’m not sure fans had the same reaction.