When Brendan Shanahan walked off the ice and saw a large group of media around his locker today, he correctly guessed that the conversation around the team had changed.
“Let me guess: today you’re not going to ask when a good time is to start resting everybody,” he said.
Sure enough, it took only two games for the Rangers to go from a team that may have already been looking ahead to the post-season to one that now absolutely has to live in the moment. The team was reminded of that when it was called in for an unscheduled team meeting on Sunday — canceling a day off — and it was reminded of it again when it saw its opponent tomorrow light up the Flyers for seven goals later that afternoon.
In other words, gone is the euphoria of a 13-game point streak, and in its place is the sober reality of a playoff race.
Meanwhile, some notes:
<li>The forward lines were the same in practice today, but Tom Renney was coy when asked if possible changes were in the works for tomorrow. My guess is if he was seriously thinking about it, we’d see as much today.
<li>Meanwhile, Marek Malik has been cleared to return even if he was the only player wearing a green jersey in practice (was he the only one celebrating St. Patrick’s Day?). Look for Malik to be back in tomorrow alongside Michal Rozsival, while Marc Staal will go back to skating with Christian Backman.
<li>As for Paul Mara, apparently the defenseman has a different view of his availability than Tom Renney. Cleared for full contact today, Mara after practice said he felt good enough to return. But when Renney was asked the same question, heÂ said Mara was “a ways off” and that he needs to work on his conditioning.
<li>The Rangers-Pens game on March 30 has been switched to 12:30 and will be broadcast on NBC.
Finally, one last note: I have been roped into an “online college basketball bracket contest sponsored by LoHud.com”:http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200880313004. I suggest you do the same for a couple of reasons: one, if you’re perfect, you will win $10,000. At worst, though, you will most likely easily beat me, which should be a thrill in itself.
I have a long history with college hoops brackets. Once I filled one out using only which was the superior academic school as the guiding rule. I believe I had Princeton edging Georgetown in the final. Another time I went by which school probably had better looking girls. It was Arizona State over Miami in a nail-biter!