Skeleton crew


Update, 11:55 a.m.:  More on the lineup tonight. This is likely to change, but here’s what I had written down. Note that both Lauri Korpikoski and Ryan Callahan are expected to get looks at center, where Tom Renney said not having a “natural NHL center” in that fourth slot is an outside possibility.

Also note that Dale “The Iron Horse” Weise is slated to play his third game in four nights:

Forwards: Rissmiller-Betts-Weise; Parenteau-Nedved-Prucha; Sjostrom-Korpikoski-Orr; Voros-Callahan-Fritsche.

Defense: Fahey-Pock; Redden-Girardi; Potter-Kalinin

<li>Artem Anisimov skated with the game day squad and Renney said he’ll be a game day decision. But seeing how Anisimov wasn’t in a rush to pack his bag for the city, I doubt he’ll play.

<li>As for the different configurations from the earlier skate, Renney said it was more conceptual, and the lines tomorrow will be a better reflection of what the team will skate with on Saturday.

<li>I’ll have more in a paper about the growing contest for fourth line center. Blair Betts said he doesn’t feel safe, but said he hasn’t felt safe the last few training camps, either. “Training camp is a mind f—“, the mild-mannered Betts said.

OK, off to The Journal News office for the live chat at 1. Hope to see you all then….

Earlier: It doesn’t sound like the Rangers’ 1-3 record this preseason is of much concern to the Rangers coaching staff, because the lineup for tonight isn’t exactly a Cup contender.

Other than a few exceptions, pretty much all of the team’s top forwards skated in the earlier practice for players who are not playing tonight, including Chris Drury, Nikolai Zherdev, Scott Gomez, Markus Naslund, Brandon Dubinsky, and Nigel Dawes.

That leaves Ryan Callahan, Blair Betts, Petr Nedved, Fred Sjostrom, Lauri Korpikoski, Colton Orr, Aaron Voros, and Patrick Rissmiller as the headliners up front tonight, with Wade Redden, Dan Girardi, and Dmitri Kalinin in at defense.

Stephen Valiquette is slated to play all 60 minutes. More on lines in a bit.

I would imagine the light lineup tonight opens the door for the Rangers to produce close to a full NHL lineup in Saturday’s North American exhibition finale against the Devils.

For what it’s worth, Tom Renney experimented with new lines in the earlier practice. Given some of the other players involved, I wouldn’t read too much into them. They were:

Dawes-Gomez-Jessiman; Naslund-Drury-Moore; Byers-Dubinsky-Zherdev.

More in a bit…

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  1. We can only hope that Mike Smith isn’t playing the whole game for TB in net tonight because with that lineup there’s very little chance the Rangers will score a goal on him.

  2. I think Betts will be on this team regardless of what happens in the next few games. They need his PK and shot blocking skill out there and he is a valuable asset to this team. May not score a lot of goals, but does a lot of little things right.

  3. When are we going to see a team that might actually play during the season? What is Renney doing?

    We play like crap the last two games and he once again plays guys who aren’t going to play together during the season?

    After watching Staal and Rozival play last night, those two guys need lots o work.

    I like Redden, I like how he can keep the puck in at the point and how he rushes it up the ice.

    I thought Bobby Sanguetti did not look good, but he’s a big kid who might need time to adjust.

    Either way, I’m not real happy with our lack of physical play, nor with out perimeter play or our penalty kill.

    I like Fahey, he’s been solid and has some speed.

  4. Sam- My hunch is that thoose lines in practise is Renney’s annual “prototype” lines!

    He did it last camp, and the camp before that… It didn’t amount to anything either times — but if I am guessing right, that they are prototypes of the (realistic) “TYPES” of players he would prefer to see together — they defenitly are interesting to look into.

    Having a TYPE like Jessiman next to Gomez is spot on. I’ve used Dustin Penner as a example of someone who would be perfect next to Gomez. In the game today it aint easy for players like that, its hard for them to keep up with the up and down game. However, next to Gomer you get a free ride in that aspect — gomer is probably top 3 in the league in that aspect behind like only Z and Crosby. Gomez is also our best center — and if we want 3 lines that all can bring offense, playing our best center with the “worst” pair of wingers is a must. Drury excells when he got a winger/center to “serve”. I thought Näslund would be a option next to Dubi — but I really don’t think thats the case anymore. Like Näslund is just so much about make plays in several stages, Dubi is just a raw force. Näslund with Drury could be a optin, Chris got a higher understanding of the game then Dubi. Moore is also a player who fits like the glove there, he would help Drury go up and down the ice, cover defensivly for thoose 2. Byers would fill Averys position next to Dubinsky. Avery and Dubi where great fits with each other, it was too bad that Avery couldn’t play with Jagr without getting all puckfinesse horny. Z would get allot of open ice playing with thoose 2 creating havoc. I don’t for a second belives that Tom is seriously considering thoose lines for the upcomming season. But I actually belives that its the 3 line where everyone in terms of style; fits what we are trying to build here in NY the most — out of all players in the entire camp I would bet he just for fun almost put together the “types” of players and combos on each line he would prefer the most to see in NY. It might sounds far fetched — but I actually remember him dooing the exact same thing once in camp last season too, and the year before that too. Thoose two times everyone got all worked up, but it didn’t amount to anything. But if I am right, which I think I am, its interesting to identify the types he have opted for and what kind of players he would prefer.

  5. This is from a post I made on HF from 4th of October in 2006.

    Renney’s prototype lines then where (in order after the top line with Nyls-JJ);
    Prucha – Straka – Hall
    Dawes – Cullen – Ward
    Korpikoski – Dubinsky – Moore
    Callahan – Helminen – Jessiman
    Falardeau – Petruzalek – Weller

    Like all centers are fast and good wtih the puck. All LWers were relentless forecheckers. All RWers where bigger types who could shut down the right side.

    Renney did the same thing then, moved players out of position, like Callahan and Korpikoski from their natural RW to LW et c.

    Its interesting to see that the approch have changed some. Like more creative players, and more hardnosed types maybe.

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