With the Rangers still looking to lock down their playoff spot tonight at the Coliseum, my friend Lynn Zinser “has a worthwhile look”:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/03/sports/hockey/03rangers.html?_r=1&oref=slogin at the Rangers’ three thirtysomething forwards, Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan, Martin Straka, all of whom are struggling with low offensive numbers, all of whom become free agents at season’s end.
I’m in favor of the Rangers signing at least one of them, if only because the team would then still have a player older than me—somehow important for my fragile psyche.
Meanwhile, the big question marks surrounding tonight regard Shanahan and Blair Betts, both of whom are possible for tonight. Judging from the tone yesterday, “Shanahan is more likely than Betts”:http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080403/SPORTS01/804030418/-1/SPORTS&GID=wtp/2YhJiiZED7PoNRvjXbBZlkJqA4zliflpqCYc5TI%3D, who still has to meet certain fitness standards before he can be green-lighted for a return. Regardless, Betts will be back before the end of the regular season.
Should the Rangers clinch tonight,Â hardly given against the pesky Islanders, don’t be surprised if the team does in fact rest some players—Scott Gomez and Brendan Shanahan being the most likely canddiates—tomorrow or Sunday. While a fourth seed is still important for home-ice advantage and to avoid a potential three-six match-up against the scary Washington Capitals, none of it is worthwhile if the Rangers are limping into the start of the playoffs.
But that’s all premature at this point. I won’t be at the skate since I have a 3-year old here at my side (he’s milking a mild fever by watching “Little Einsteins” on the couch in my office as I blog, which is not exactly how Hemingway did it), but I’ll check in from the Coliseum later.