As I write this, Scott Gomez is testing out his bruised ribs by going through a series of sprints administered by Perry Pearn.
Gomez looks good, if not entirely happy. His stride doesn’t appear to be hindered, and he’s even been able to get off a series of shots. Of course, Tom Renney put it best when he came out to watch the center skate. “Just throw in a couple of body checks and we’ll be fine,” Renney said.
Indeed, even if Gomez can skate and handle the puck with ease, the big “if” will still be how he handles contact. If this were the lunchtime skate at Westchester Skating Academy, I’d declare him fit to play right now. Sadly, it is not. Renney earlier declared Gomez “doubtful” for tomorrow. That might change based on Gomez and Pearn’s report out of the workout. But I wouldn’t count on it.
Updated, 1:05 p.m.: Gomez didn’t have much to report afterward , saying it felt good to be back on the ice but that he didn’t know about tomorrow. Naturally, it’s not in his best interest to go into detail elaborating on the extent of his pain. “We’ll see how it reacts today. If I can play and I can help out, I definitely want to be in the lineup,” he said. “If there’s any hesitation I don’t think they want me to go out there.”
In other news:
<li>Obviously a lot of power play talk today, what with the Rangers 1-for-their-last-31, and even though it did actually show some (emphasis on “some”) signs of progress last night against the Flyers, Tom Renney did make at least one adjustment. With Michal Rozsival back skating today and likely for tomorrow, Renney had Rozsival back with Christian Backman on one unit, and Paul Mara with Dan Girardi on the other. This might finally mean that Fedor Tyutin, who has been a weak link on the man-advantage for some time now, won’t be there against the Devils.
<li>There was also a switch to the line combinations. If Gomez doesn’t play, look for Nigel Dawes to skate with Chris Drury and Petr Prucha, while Ryan Callahan moves up to the left side with Sean Avery and Brendan Shanahan.
<li>With Rozsival and Mara back healthy, Marek Malik skated today with Jason Strudwick, which doesn’t bode well for tomorrow.
<li>According to a release from NBC, Sunday’s game against the Penguins will have one “Star-cam” dedicated to following Sean Avery (another one will be reserved for Sidney Crosby). No word yet on whether the camera will follow Avery to his pre-game tanning session.
More in a bit…