Well, we know one half of the equation: Marcel Hossa didn’t skate because of back spasms.
As for Marek Malik, that’s where things get interesting.
The often-maligned defenseman not only didn’t skate today, but his equipment wasn’t hanging in his locker (although his practice jersey was still hanging and pictures of his two sons were still taped to the wall). When asked where he was, Tom Renney would only say it was “internal matter.”
Renney wouldn’t say whether Malik was suspended, and when I asked whether Malik was being moved, Renney said, “No. He’s a Ranger, and it’s just an internal issue right now.”
Of course, being a Ranger now doesn’t mean he’s a Ranger in a few hours when a deal is completed. Or it could mean that he’s been waived. But that’s only speculation at this point.
For what it’s worth Malik has been scratched four of the last nine games, is set to make $2.5 million this season, and is a UFA at season’s end.
Either way, try to contain your excitement until we know anything definitive.
On to less pressing matters:
<li>There is the issue of timing to consider here. If the Rangers have a deal in place, they would be reticent to finalize it today given the significance of tonight. It also explains why Renney wouldn’t want to talk about it today.
<li>Malik’s absence means Paul Mara is back in the lineup. Should a deal be imminent, this may explain why Malik played on Tuesday and Mara sat out: Were the Rangers’ showcasing him?
<li>Unrest in the Rangers dressing room: Sean Avery was trying to talk a Rangers staffer into letting him bring extra guests to the Brian Leetch after-party tonight, only to be told they wouldn’t get in.
<li>Just a thought here: maybe the Rangers didn’t want a Malik giveaway to mar Brian Leetch Night. OK, that’s not nice…