From the Coliseum: Win and in (or have Washington lose)

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I will try to contain my emotions that this will be my last trip here for a while — barring an unforeseen switch to the Arena Football beat (I should keep my voice down. I don’t want to give the boss any ideas).

But at least tonight will be packed with meaning. It used to be that qualifying for the playoffs in the NHL was about as noteworthy as getting a base hit in tee ball. But the 30-team league has changed that dynamic, and as any Rangers fan will know, it’s hardly a given.

Yes, these Rangers were always supposed to make the playoffs, and should they never make it past the first round, the season will be a disappointment. But given where this team was around the All-Star break, a clinch tonight would at least be worth celebrating.

“It’s an accomplishment for me,” Tom Renney said with a laugh. “No, it is an accomplishment. It’s a very, very competitive league and this has been one of the better years in a long time in terms of the space between one and eight and eight and the rest. I think it’s super. I think it’s outstanding for the league, outstanding for the fans, and certainly for the teams who play hard right to the end, as they should. This is serious stuff.”

Some updates:

<li>Brendan Shanahan is out tonight because of the leg strain sustained Monday, but Tom Renney said he has “no doubt” that Shanahan will be ready for tomorrow. Of course, whether Renney chooses to use him is a different story. Asked if his plan for the veteran changes if the Rangers win tonight, Renney said he was pleading the fifth. I’m sure you can read between the lines with that one.

<li>In Shanahan’s place, Jason Strudwick will skate on the fourth line, while Petr Prucha will presumably take Shanahan’s place alongside Scott Gomez and Sean Avery. Blair Betts is also out tonight, but Renney said tomorrow is a possibility for the center.

<li>The defensive pairings will be a continuation of what Renney switched to late in the Pittsburgh win, with Marc Staal skating with Michal Rozsival and Paul Mara skating with Christian Backman. The other pairing of Fedor Tyutin and Dan Girardi will stay the same.

<li>The team did not conduct even an optional morning skate for as long as I can remember. Renney said it was to force his team to take a breather before a three in four nights stretch.

More later…

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15 Comments

  1. Prucha should fit in well on that line.

    If they play hard and smart tonight they will win.

    End it tonight…

  2. I like the D pairings. Those top 4 could be what we see next season.

    I expect the boys to come out flying tonight. Let’s just hope Dubielixtzts goes easy on it.

  3. It’s nice to hear the dulcet tones of Sam Rosen again saying, *”It’s a power play goal!!”* Nice to see four different assisters on the two goals. Everybody getting involved.

    I don’t think I’ve seen the fourth line on the ice for us yet, but it looks like they’ve had one shift.

  4. Go Blow Yo-self, Joe!!

    Jags is coming on. Where is that other Jagr hating piece of merd. Since Jags won’t do it, I’d love to drop the gloves with BOTH OF YOU NOW!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. and which members of the Brdgport team were on the ice when he was on the ice??
    GFYoself!!!!!

  6. I just don’t get why some say, that Jagr shouldn’t be in first line because of his lack of production … there is 30 teams, 3 forwards in each line – so as far he is is in TOP 90 in scoring, he is doing fine – and he actually is in top 40 – so what’s the big deal? Should he be better … yes, he should … but just because he is underperforming (to his standards) doesn’t mean that rangers has better right wing … go jags!

  7. What were the Rangers fans chanting? (Besides the obvious, “Let’s go Rangers.” I can’t make it out on the broadcast. If it’s re-printable, can someone let me know.

  8. Hey Joe,

    Tommorow nite after the game at Local(across from the Garden).

    I’ll be the one with the Jagr jersey 6′ 5″ 270lbs.

    Loking forward to it. What are you going to bring beside the urine when you see me?

  9. I believe they were also chanting “Your season’s over,” to the Islanders

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