Many of you are probably sitting home, about to go into a conniption in anticipation of Game 3. Sorry to report, but there’s not much news to help pass the time.
Tom Renney inferred we’ll see the same lineup tonight when the Rangers host the Devils for a Game 3, including Christian Backman. The D-man was at the rink this morning but did not skate. Renney said there’s nothing up with him or any no-shows at today’s optional skate. The club appears ready to resume.
As far as the lineup goes, Renney said: “I think most coaches are creatures of habit,Â so if it’s working â€” even if it doesn’t look like it â€” you go with what’s there. We do have some very good hockey players in the wings, waiting to help us out. We know that and I sure don’t like those guys having to wait too long.Â This is the season now. What we’re doing on a game-to-game basis is crucial in terms of wins. We’ll see how the series evolves. If feel like we have to put somebody in, we’ll do that, but it’s a game-time thing.”
That’s a long quote, but the message was: You’ll see the same players tonight.
The other theme was appropriately handling their playoff debut at the Garden. Obviously, Game 2 was borderline nasty at times. The Rangers will be cautious contributers to the mayhem tonight, hoping to play with the required edge all while avoiding the penalty box. A couple dumb penalties could stir up a Devils comeback, and no one in blue wants that.
“It’s about emotional control and recognizing that the consequence for retaliation or playing outside of our team needs could be crucial to the series, never mind the game that you’re in,” Renney said. “It’s about emotional control. It’s about making sure you are passionate to play, that you’re not allowing yourself to be pushed around, that you are proactive, but you have to be intelligent about it to and recognize that any extracirricular activity could cost you a game if you’re the team in the penalty box or you’ve got off the ice. It’s just about emotional control and recognizing that the team comes before any individual.”
I asked how he felt they handled their emotions on Friday.
“We were happy about it, for the most part,” Renney said. “You’ve gotta be there for each other. I think we made that statement and we’ll continue to when we have to. But the bottom line is, we don’t want a penalty parade. When we can do that, we can allow our great players to do on the ice what they need to do and it doesn’t tax our penalty killers as much.”
And â€” one for the road â€” the coach was asked what makes the Garden so special. “It’s like a temple,” he said, a sentiment I’m sure many of you share.
If a return to New York’s hockey shrine doesn’t get you pumped for Game 3, you’re on the wrong blog.
Talk to you later…