You may have noticed your loyal correspondent went AWOL for a day, this thanks to my “other gig as golf writer”:http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080115/SPORTS01/801150386/-1/SPORTS&referrer=NEWSFRONTCAROUSEL
Turns out I didn’t miss much, or plenty depending on your perspective. After their inspired performance against Montreal on Saturday, the Rangers lost all their momentum last night against Ty Conklin (a UNH Wildcat!) and the Pens and now find themselves again reeling as they prepare to host the Sabres tomorrow.
A telling detail: Renney did not oversee practice, and instead presided over a 20-minute video session afterwards. This meant a bunch of us were waiting idly in the Rangers dressing room with no one to talk to but ourselves. “You know things are bad when members of the press are holding a closed-door meeting,” Brendan Shanahan said upon emerging.
Among the storylines:
<li>Chris Drury facing his former Buffalo teammates for the first time. We asked Drury about that just now, but as someone who never says anything terribly incendiary — making him a great teammate but not so great a quote — he merely said he was focusing on the next two points.
<li>The return of Brendan Shanahan and maybe even Sean Avery. Both skated at practice today and Shanahan said he was fit to play. Avery first said he could probably use more time to heal, but in the same sentence said it was only mental and he’s ready to come back. Having not talked to Tom Renney just yet, it’s unclear what the coaches plans are for the wing.
UPDATE, 1 p.m.: Renney says both players are day-to-day and he’ll reassess their status in the morning. Shanahan, for what it’s worth, said he expected to return.
<li>The absence of Jaromir Jagr? OK, maybe that’s a tad premature. But I do know the Captain missed practice today and was then seen limping through the dressing room. Again, stay tuned to hear what Renney has to say.
UPDATE, 1 p.m.: “He’s sore, very sore,” Renney said of Jagr, who is fighting injuries in both his feet, one from getting hit and from blocking a shot. The Captain will also be a game-day decision.
<li>Brandon Dubinsky and Marc Staal were both selected to play in the Young Stars Game during All-Star weekend.
More in a bit….