Just when you thought a random Sunday afternoon game against an anonymous opponent would be devoid of intrigue, the lineup changes alone are compelling.
Try to keep up, because there are plenty,..
<li>Stephen Valiquette gets his fourth start of the season, in no small part because of the flu bug — there was no mention of a sore wrist — that is still hampering Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers did not call up Al Montoya because Tom Renney said Lundqvist could serve as a back-up if need be. But should Lundqvist’s condition worsen, Montoya in New York would likely be the plan.
<li>As reported earlier, Greg Moore and Nigel Dawes are both in. With Marcel Hossa still fighting the flu as well, Dawes would presumably skate with Scott Gomez and Brendan Shanahan, while Moore is most likely to be with Chris Drury and Petr Prucha. Seeing how Moore can play both center and wing, there is the chance his role could change as the game goes on.
<li>This of course means that Ryan Callahan is out. On paper, as Renney said, the right wing has been sent to Hartford, but he hasn’t gone yet since the Rangers first want see if anyone gets hurt tonight. The decision to pull Callahan from the lineup at all, as suspected, can be traced to his inconsistent play since returning from his knee injury. Renney conceded he may have made a mistake not sending Callahan to Hartford immediately upon his return late last month. â€œIn order for us to compete the way we need to, we need Ryan Callahan to play Callahan hockey,â€ Renney said. â€œHaving come out of the injury, he wasnâ€™t quite right.”
<li>Not a great day for Ryans. Ryan Hollweg is also scratched, with Jason Strudwick taking his place at left wing. The intended message? “He’s got to do more,” Renney said of Hollweg.
<li>With Strudwick up front, Marek Malik is back in the lineup, and most likely back with Michal Rozsival, a reunion Renney said he hopes sparks the top line of Jaromir Jagr, Brandon Dubinsky, and Martin Straka. That means Marc Staal would go with Paul Mara.
OK, plenty to chew on. More in a bit…