In honor of the Rangers opponent tonight, the press room offering will be some sort of fish, which again means it’s time to call my wife and tell her I love her (just in case I don’t make it through).
As for the Islanders themselves, they will indeed be without Rick DiPietro, whose prolonged absence after the death of his grandmother remains something of a mystery. One theory is that DiPietro would have returned to the team tonight if Ted Nolan had agreed to start him. But with Nolan thinking DiPietro wasn’t ready, he gave the nod to Wade Dubielewicz, and now DiPietro isn’t even in the building.
Meanwhile, my vote would have been for DiPietro since Dubielewicz is really hard to type.
And speaking of Dubie…well, you know his name…it turns out Tom Renney coached the Islanders backup at a hockey camp in British Columbia when he was six years old (not Renney, the goalie).
“I didn’t teach him a thing, really” Renney said.
That of course may be to Renney’s advantage tonight. It’s very easy to look at this game against a slumping Islanders team featuring their backup goalie and think it’s a lock for the Rangers. Most of you are too smart to think that, but the rest of you should know these games rarely play out according to plan.
I do think the Rangers are a tougher, more disciplined team than they were when they lost three straight to the Isles to start the year. But the important part to remember is that with the playoffs looking less and less likely for the Islanders, it is games like tonight they will use to define their season.
Translation? Don’t change the channel.
OK, Lynn Zinser of the Times just threw me a lifeline. We’re bypassing the fish and heading out for something instead.
Back in a bit…