As expected, the Rangers will have the same lineup tonight against the Isles, meaning Jason Strudwick, Ryan Hollweg, and Petr Prucha will all be scratches.
My prediction: unless someone gets hurt, Tom Renney won’t tinker with his personnel until the team loses.
Meanwhile, some notes:
<li>Today was only an optional skate, meaning many of the veterans took the morning off. Jaromir Jagr, sporting a new mullet-free haircut, came out for a twirl without full equipment. Scott Gomez missed practice yesterday with a groin strain, but he’ll be fine to play tonight.
<li>Paul Mara, still recovering from surgery on his face, was riding the bike and reported improvement, although he did say he’s still in pain. He won’t be clear to resume skating until next week, and when he does, he’ll be forced to wear a full shield.
This is not an insignificant adjustment, take it from me. The moment I got out of college — I played at the club level, which is hardly the NHL — I took off my shield and have never looked back. Now to have to go back to wearing one would feel like playing blindfolded.
<li>Expect to see Christian Backman getting some time on the point on the power play. “He moves the puck, he has his head up, he puts it where it needs to be,” Tom Renney said. Now if only he can avoid taking a penalty in the process….