Hello, Ranger fans, I am back for another season of filling in for our pal Sam, who was scratched from the lineup today. (I think it has something to do with a UNH-sponsored long division seminar but cannot be sure. There were rumors they may cancel the seminar for a lack of qualified attendees.)
Anyway, talk today focused on the new guys’ expectations for their Garden debut in blue, but I have a few tidbits from the skate. Here goes:
â€” Petr Prucha may be the odd man out again. No. 25 may find himself on the scratched squad tomorrow night after we saw Fredrik Sjostrom skate with Blair Betts and Colton Orr on the fourth line. Nigel Dawes was bumped down and will likely skate alongside Ryan Callahan and Lauri Korpikoski, leaving Prucha as the odd-man out. When asked about Prucha, Renney said: “We’ll make a decision tomorrow morning.” … I know, I know: Here we go again…
â€” The Rangers will stick with six men on D. There were no roster moves today to balance the roster. Renney said the club will field just six defensemen “at this point.” He didn’t elaborate but a move didn’t seem imminent.
â€” Hank to grab some rest? With the Rangers playing seven games in 11 days, Renney said he and Benoit Allaire talked about a plan to start Steven Valiquette in a game. We’re not sure which one yet.
â€” This one kind of feels like an opener. No disrespect to the good people of Prague (and, yes, the Rangers’ wins count), but tomorrow night is the unofficial/official NHL opener for this club. â€œIt was a great experience to play in Europe, but you could tell itâ€™s a lot different,â€ Henrik Lundqvist said. â€œItâ€™s not like playing here with the atmosphere. That adds another level to the game when you have that environment.â€
â€” Chicago is on the rise. Can you believe the Rangers and Blackhawks have not met since Feb. 18, 2007? Can you believe the Blackhawks haven’t won on Garden ice since Dec. 2002? Well, that happens to be the state of the league right now, what with it having the most unbalanced of schedules. The Rangers believes this Chicago team will be a different animal. With guys like Patrick Kane and Brian Campbell, the Original Six member may be set to regain some respectability.
â€” Dubinsky on Palin. He would’ve preferred to talk about a different topic, but Brandon Dubinsky said it was “certainly good for Alaska” that Gov. Sarah Palin would drop the puck Saturday night in Philly. Dubinsky, one of two native Alaskans (Scott Gomez is the other) had this to say: “She’s obviously a representative of where I come from, so that’s good. There’s a lot of different opinions out there on a lot of different subjects, but I’m just here to play hockey. I’m going to focus on that.”