Dwindling numbers


The good news for Paul Mara: the Red Sox are in first place after their season-opening win in Japan this morning.

The better news for Mara: he makes his return to the lineup tonight after missing a month because of facial injuries sustained Feb. 23 in Buffalo.

Of course, don’t start celebrating yet. Mara is back in only because Michal Rozsival is out with what Tom Renney is calling an “upper leg strain.” The coach wasn’t overly concerned about his No. 1 defenseman, who tweaked his leg a few days ago and re-aggravated it again yesterday. It sounds like his absence may only be limited to tonight, and Rozsival was already busy working out in the team’s fitness room. But it’s not something the coach wants to leave to chance.

Some other notes:

<li>Mara will be back in a full cage, looking not unlike he should be at defense for BU (or UNH) in the NCAA playoffs. He’ll wear the cage most likely for two more weeks.  Look for him to start the game with Marek Malik, while Christian Backman will stay with Marc Staal.

<li>Mara will also take Rozsival’s place alongside Backman on the power play.  The new power play configurations have that pairing with the first line of Martin Straka, Jaromir Jagr, and Brandon Dubinsky. On the other power play, Brendan Shanahan will be with Chris Drury and Sean Avery, along with Fedor Tyutin and Dan Girardi. Petr Prucha is back in the lineup tonight, but is not expected to see any power play time.

<li>Scott Gomez rode the bike again today and showed some progress. Neither he nor Renney has ruled out Thursday against the Devils.

<li>Renney acknowledged one of the reasons he hasn’t called anyone up from Hartford is he can go back to some combinations that have worked in the past against Philly (Prucha scored a goal against the Flyers Nov. 15, on an assist from Drury). But the other consideration is that no one down there has made a “lights out” case to be called up of late.

More in a bit…

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  1. Doodie Machetto on

    Thanks for the update Sam. Any indication that if the PP struggles he might try and shuffle it a little bit, either by working in Dawes or Prucha?

    Repost from last thread with addition:

    Atlanta was in the same boat as them until they sold their entire future to sneak into the playoffs and be swept last season. I think that’s far more disgraceful than never making it. Columbus might have a shot next season. Atlanta will be lucky if they make it by 2015.

    Columbus is going to only get better. McLean did a lousy job as a GM and so they’re still feeling the pain. I like having a team in Ohio. It’s a decent size market. I think they picked the wrong city though. It should’ve been Cleveland.

  2. hockeymanrangers # 2 on

    Thank goodness Renny is AT LEAST trying something different on the PP. And I say this again I sure hope we can get 2 in regulation tonight. Where is everyone resting up for the big game tonight???

  3. why would you not try prucha on the powerplay? None of the guys on there have been performing

  4. I think it’d be too tough to have a guy(Prucha) on the shelf for 16 games, then bring him in and give him 20min TOI with PP time. We can’t kill the guy.

  5. One person on the team cries injury ( Betts), next thing you know the whole team will start to cry injury……dropping like flies…who’s next?? lol…..I wonder who the strength and conditioning coach of this team is……fire him like the Yankees did last year to their own…haha

  6. If there’s anywhere Prucha should get time, it’s on the PP. Seems like a classic Renney refusal to fit the square peg into the square hole. I think he’s a good coach, but sometimes he pisses me off.

  7. So the one place Prucha might actually show up (besides getting laid out by an open ice hit) and he’s not going to be there.. great job, coach! I’m glad Blozsival is out, though.. I doubt it’s an injury.. it’s more like, “Well, you haven’t scored in a while, and you are a defensive liability, so let’s watch the game and hope you learn something.”

  8. Hopefully Mara’s shot from the point is back to normal and he uses it. The PP needs some of that threat also.

  9. totally agree with the other threads, Prucha can only help the cause on the PP. Park him and Drury in front of the net and see what happens…

  10. Guys look, the Prucha insertion into the lineup is due to Gomer going down with an injury. Now you want him to play 25 mins per night and on the powerplay.

    Re-read Beer Me!’s post. You can’t put a guy in there with no ice time in 16 games and then expect him to have his scoring touch and fine passing skills to the level needed for a PP.

    Don’t get me wrong, our PP has sucked the last 10 games. No question. But let’s see how Prucha does on the ice with simple passing and shooting before we pencil him in as the 1st line PP guy.

    Sam is the 4th line really going to be centered by Hollweg?

    Are the lines: Dub-Jags-Straka, Dru-Pru-Cally, Aves-Dawes-Shanny, and Orrweg-Shoe?

  11. I’m certainly not saying PP should get 25 minutes of ice. And I’d rather have him testing his passing skills with one less opponent on the ice than while he’s being crushed onto his ass at even strength.

  12. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

    Holy crap, this is the best day since Christmas! Rozy out, Mara in (although on its own not such a big deal) and playing on the PP (where I hope he’ll help revitalize this team, a threatening shot from the point).

    Pavel, I totally agree. It sounds like a possible “well, you got a splinter in your leg? Let’s give you the night off” or Rozy walked in to Renney’s office, coughed, and Renney said “sounds like a leg strain, we’re putting Mara in tonight.” haha

  13. Wouldn’t anyone be a better choice than Hollweg? Guy makes me nuts — he sucks for 50 games, then does something cool so I forget, then sucks again.

    Okay, enough hating for today.

    Go rangers!

  14. Guys / Sam,

    Can you confirm the game is at 7:30 tonight. I just saw the schedule and I wanted to make sure.

  15. 4th line: Hoostrrr. Like a rooster, only uglier. I don’t know. :P

    So you guys that complain about Prucha not being able to handle the ice time, how do you feel about Mara, who has barely practiced in the time he’s been out? Prucha has practiced all the time since his injury. I want to see Prucha on the power play! If need be, take him off his line at even strength for Sjostrom sometimes. In fact, that would make the most sense, since the fourth line won’t get too much time. Do it Renney!!

    I think Rozsival would be playing through this if he had been playing better recently.

    I’m so excited to be able to watch this game on Versus tonight, and on NBC on Sunday. I’ve already got the jersey on!!!!!!

    As you can tell, I’ve gone crazy.

  16. Rozi out is not a good thing at all. Mara is the worst defender on the team and he has done little offensively during his time here.

  17. Like I said last week, 7:30 is probably for Versus to accomodate their doubleheader better, since I doubt they want an hour of “Hockey Central” in between games, and it is easier to push back a start time rather than move it up, as the second game is scheduled for 10:30. My guess is they didn’t have at least one of these games picked at the beginning of the season. In fact, I think I read that Rangers-Flyers was picked by them a couple weeks ago.

  18. Doodie Machetto on


    I don’t have versus! And I can’t even go anywhere tonight to watch it because I’ve got a ton of work I need to do.

    I am having a bad day.

  19. playing on the third line with no pp or pk prucha would be getting about 13/14 minutes. i think he could handle another 5 minutes on the powerplay, the amount of ice time is a bad argument to why he is not being used. and i dont think he could do any worse on the pp then our “number one” winger

  20. spider – I just want to make clear that I’m not “complaining about Prucha not being able to handle the ice time”.

    There’s nothing to complain about. The game hasn’t taken place yet. Just protecting players from themselves.

    And how I feel about Mara…he’s better than struds anyday. (but I like struds, just not when he lace’s ’em up)

  21. Who Needs Lohan (Clearly a Mets Fan) on

    Yeah we addressed the 7:30 start the other day, it has to do with the VS doubleheader we believe

  22. Who Needs Lohan (Clearly a Mets Fan) on

    Tonights game feels like the second game of a doubleheader when you have your .215 hitting utility guy playing, a rookie pitcher and a back up catcher. If we win I will be pleasantly surprised.

  23. except in this case you are bringing in a guy who has potential to hit a homerun in to instead pinch run, sure prucha can still do well, but why not give the kid a chance to succeed where he has done well in the past and where the whole team has done horribly all year

  24. I heart Erin Andrews on

    Renney has got to be the SMARTEST coach around!

    We have a PP that is absolutely AWFUL, and he refuses to fix it.

    Great idea TOM, lets put two defensemen (Mara & Tutin) who can’t get an accurate shot on goal ON THE SAME UNIT, while leaving our spark plug, Prucha, on the bench.


  25. Who would have thought there’d be so many people pining for Prucha?

    Honestly, If you don’t want Prucha out there too much, the smart play is to have him play exclusively on the PP and give some of his ES shifts to Sjostrom.

  26. Avery is a late injury scratch. Apparently he got mauled by a circus tiger in the garden after continuing to pester him.

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