Note my playoff devotion: As I write this post, I’m sitting here at the press room in Greenburgh next to a half-eaten bagel. I never, and I mean never, leave food half-eaten, but I understand the task at hand. Much like the Rangers, I have to put aside my own desires (in this case a sesame seed bagel with plain cream cheese) for the good of the team.
Hopefully, between Carpie, Sam and myself we can form a decent line until Sammy returns from the hideous monstrosity that is Augusta National. For now it’s my turn, so here are a few things to consider as the Rangers prep for Game 1:
â€” It appears Brendan Shanahan will return to his usual spot alongside Scott Gomez and Sean Avery. Shanahan, who played the fourth line in Sunday’s finale, skated there during practice. To me it’s not much of a surprise as the club becomes so dependent on leadership from its oldest player this time of year. That leadership’s a lot easier to provide from the second line, wouldn’t you say?
â€” The LW spot alongside Blair Betts and Fredrik Sjostrom may fall to Ryan Hollweg. The ‘Stached One skated there today. Petr Prucha worked himself in, but Hollweg earned most of the ice time next to Betts.
â€” The most interesting of the three lineup decisions (Shanny, LW on 4th line, Backman’s partner on D) appears to be in the back end. Jason Strudwick was paired with Christian Backman for practice, leading to speculation that he’ll end up there tomorrow. It would constitute as a surprise when you consider Strudwick has played just once since March 15th (Thursday vs. the Islanders) and only four games since Feb. 24. My questions to you: Does Strudwick provide what the Rangers need against the Devils moreso than Malik or Mara? Will Jersey actually get a double dose of ‘Stache? Should every Ranger go Tom Selleck, perhaps starting a trend that ends in the defeat of the playoff beard?
OK, I’ll have more to share later. Talk to you then…