I’ve made this case before, but I’ll say it again: for all of your misery in seeing the Rangers struggle, there is at least no shortage of intrigue when they do. I offer today at practice as another example.
The Rangers have found the answer to their goal scoring woes. It’s not practicing against Henrik Lundqvist. It’s not even practicing against a former Division III goalie like Chad Killam. No, the answer is a Shooter Tutor strapped to one of the nets today. The reason it was there is because Lundqvist is still out with the flu — although he did skate on his own before practice — and in the absence of another goalie, the Rangers were forced to be creative. Tom Renney’s plan is to skate Lundqvist in the morning skate tomorrow, and make a decision from there on whether he’ll play. If he can’t, I still wouldn’t count on seeing Al Montoya. It still sounds like it’ll be Stephen Valiquette.
You had to think Renney was going to shuffle his lines after yesterday’s debacle, and you were right: the coach had Scott Gomez back up with Jaromir Jagr and Martin Straka; Chris Drury between Brendan Shanahan and Nigel Dawes; and Brandon Dubinsky between Petr Prucha and Ryan Callahan (that’s not a misprint. More on that in a second). Of course, everyone stopped short of saying that’s what the lines will be tomorrow. Gomez was comically evasive, while Jagr looked downright disconsolate. “I don’t know,” he kept saying. For what it’s worth, Jagr still looks like he’s woozy from losing a tooth yesterday. We asked him if he went to the dentist, and he just flashed his broken set of teeth as a response.
As for Callahan, Renney called an audible, saying he opted to keep the right wing up in New York after all. Whether that means he’s back in the lineup or not is another story, although one could assume as much given the lines today. Callahan said he wasn’t sure what to expect, but he conceded he needed to get his game back on track regardless.
As for Dawes and Greg Moore, both are still up for the time being, and neither was in a position to complain. Awaiting every player at their locker today was a gift box from Tiffany. I remarked to Dawes that it’s probably better than what he would receive in Hartford. “Down there it’s Burger King certificates,” he cracked. The gift, by the way, was silver cufflinks with the Rangers “NYR” logo on it.
Sean Avery skated again, but in the dreaded green jersey. He’s out for tomorrow, and technically on injured reserve, although he was being pushed through the fitness testing by Perry Pearn that players are forced to go through before returning.