Update, postgame: Decisons, decisions. Tom Renney says he has plenty to make, some of which need to be by tomorrow when he reassigns players to Hartford. But the other issue is what he wants his roster to look like when the season opens in Prague. What to do with Lauri Korpikoski, who made another compelling case for himself tonight? What about Petr Nedved? And if those two stay, what do you do with Patrick Rissmiller and his $1 million contract?
“We’ve got a number of guys making strong cases for themselves,” Renney said.
One can only speculate at this point. Come back tomorrow and we should have at least some answers…
Update, 9:34 p.m.: Lightning 4, Rangers 2. By my view, Petr Prucha could have easily had a hat trick.
Update, 8:38 p.m.: Rangers 2, Lightning 1, end of two.. Meanwhile, just walked by Nikolai Zherdev buying a hot dog at the concession stand. Maybe someone should tell him he can get his food for free around here. Then again, Zherdev is set to make more than $3 million this year. I think he can handle $4 for a frank.
Update, 8:14 p.m.: Inspired move out of the corner by Lauri Korpikoski to put the Rangers ahead 2-1. Put The Korpedo at the top of the list of rookies most likely to crack the lineup on opening night.
Update, 7:40 p.m.: Rangers 1, Lightning 1. Overall, a much better pace than last night’s snorefest in Jersey, including an impressive dipsy-doodle by Petr Prucha to create a scoring chance.
One problem is the puck is jumping all over the place, which is either a reflection of choppy ice or particularly bouncy pucks.
Update, 7:36 p.m.: Fred Sjostrom goes down hard after colliding headfirst with an official, but skates off on his own, and stays on the bench instead of heading to the dressing room.
Update, 7:33 p.m.: A wraparound by Chris Gratton beats Stephen Valiquette. The Rangers have a chance to go back up after some sustained pressure from the likes of Ryan Callahan, but Wade Redden misses a one-timer just wide.
Update, 7:26 p.m.: And now it’s Aaron Voros with Zenon Konopka. But I won’t be truly impressed until I see Betts throwing down…
Update, 7:21 p.m. Dan Fritsche opens the scoring on a pass from Patrick Rissmiller.
And now Colton Orr is going at it with David Koci. There’s something for everyone here at the Garden!
Update, 7:05 p.m.: Correction on the forward lines:
Voros-Korpikoski-Weise start out. The others are Rissmiller-Callahan-Fritsche; Sjostrom-Betts-Orr; and Prucha-Nedved-Parenteau.
Blair Betts is wearing an “A”, a curious development on top of the post below.
But wait, Dmitri Kalinin is also wearing the “A”, suggesting it’s not quite as prestigious as I may have originally thought. Heck, I think Zipay is wearing an “A” next to me.
For the record, Wade Redden has the “C”.
Earlier: I find it interesting thatÂ hours after Blair Betts said he’s had little communication with the Rangers coaching staff about his status (and that “training camp is a mind f—“) Tom Renney just came out with a subtle endorsement of his incumbent fourth line center.
“Right now he is (our guy). Somebody has to beat him out of a job and I don’t know if it’s going to happen, quite honestly,” Renney said of Betts. “With all that being said, Blair’s a good hockey player who in my mind could play for 29 other teams in this league, and I take that very seriously — as I do with Petr (Nedved) in this training camp at this point. And there are other guys who canÂ play center ice as well.”
This takes little away from perhaps the lone drama of tonight –Â how Betts looks at center as opposed to Nedved, Lauri Korpikoski, and Ryan Callahan. With Nedved expected to make the trip to Europe, this subplot could conceivably extend straight into Prague.
New question of the day: Do the Rangers keep both centers and rotate them in and out of the lineup as needed?
In other news:
<li>The Rangers made their first four cuts of training camp. Evgeny Grachev is headed to Hartford; Michael Del Zotto and Tomas Kundratek were returned to their respective junior clubs, and defensemen David Stich was released from his try-out agreement. Surprisingly, Lyon Messier is still hanging around.
As for Del Zotto, this was still a very impressive run for the young defenseman. He won’t be back with the Rangers this season (unless they call him up after his junior season) and the odds are against him competing for an NHL job next year. But he’s still a lot closer than many people suspected.
<li>I’m working on a story about the challenges and complications that come with taking an NHL team to Europe for nine days. A short synopsis: a lot more goes into it than you’d think (a handful of members of the organization are flying out tomorrow ahead of the team to make sure everything is in order). On a related note, Renney just went into detail about his ideas about ways to fend off jet lag.
More in a bit…