Just how far off the path the Rangers veered in their trip to Florida, I guess we’ll know soon enough. But when asked about the importance of tonight against the Penguins, Tom Renney said he had a different objective in mind than just two points.
“This is going to sound crazy, but what I want to do tonight is play well,” the coach said. “I want to play a good game. I want us to be competitive. I want us to be intense. I want us to be crisp and sharp. I want our specialty teams to do what they need to do. That always gives us a chance, doesn’t it? I just want to play well and I think the guys do, too.”
There is logic to this, when you think about it. When you lose two games in a row and look pretty miserable in the process, the natural reaction at this critical point in the schedule might be to say that you absolutely have to win the next one.
But as we all know, just saying you need to win or want to win doesn’t necessarily cure what was ailing you in the first place. That’s why you instead focus on simply playing well, and hopes the results come from there.
Meanwhile, some notes:
<li>Sidney Crosby is indeed out with a high ankle sprain, although as recently as a few minutes ago, Renney wasn’t completely sure. The coach has traditionally used his Blair Betts unit to match up against Crosby and he still has that option against Evgeni Malkin’s line. But the coach said he was hoping to avoid as much and just roll his lines normally.
<li>Speaking of Malkin, while Renney had mentioned that (former UNH Wildcat) Ty Conklin should at least be in the conversation about potential MVP candidates, my vote at this stage would probably go to the Russian for his ability to keep the Penguins afloat in Crosby’s absence. Of course, if Alexander Ovechkin can somehow get the Capitals into the playoffs, then I’d have to reconsider. And while we’re at it, let’s not forget Blair Betts. OK, maybe not Blair Betts.
More in a bit….