It’s great to be back for an actual game. As I type, I can hear a dry run of the player introductions on the P.A. system. For the record, there’s been no mention of a No. 14…
And it doesn’t sound like Michal Rozsival is getting rid of No. 3 just yet…
For those coming tonight, nothing starts before 7, and the real puck drop isn’t until 7:15.
Some early notes:
<li>Great sign outside the Tempest Bar near the Garden on 8th Avenue: “Rangers vs. Blackhawks: Find your own hot hockey mom.”
As the son of a hockey mom, and the husband of a future hockey mom, I take great offense. (Not really)….
<li>Nothing new on the lineup front, although Tom Renney admitted he was weighing using Stephen Valiquette tomorrow in Philly because of the backup’s 3-0-1 record (and two shutouts) against the Flyers.”You think about that, sure. He’s had some success there, but we’ll see how it goes tonight,” Renney said.
<li>When Renney was asked how long was too long for any forward to sit, the coach threw out “three games.” By that measure, both Dan Fritsche and Patrick Rissmiller would play tomorrow, although don’t count on it.
<li>When Scott Gomez asked some of the writers how the vice presidential debate went last week — his TV in Prague didn’t work, he said –Â someone noted that Sarah Palin didn’t really answer any of the questions. “That’s an Alaskan thing,” Gomez said. “I don’t answer them, either.”
<li>Since it came up on the video chat, a source told me that Marek Malik is home in the Czech Republic but does have some serious offers from NHL teams which he is currently sifting through. Easy there. As far as I know, none of those teams are your Rangers.
<li>And if you must know, Brendan Shanahan’s agent, Rick Curran, said there was nothing new to report on No. 14 and the Rangers. “I’m not really in control of the situation,” he said, meaning nothing could be done until the Rangers clear space for Shanahan.
Update, 7 p.m.: The house lights have dimmed. There’s two lines of Irish drummers directly below me.
Update, 7:01 p.m.: Impressive video montage of Rangers history. Michael Obernauer, now occupying Dellapina’s seat next to the TV, gets an immediate demerit for fumbling too long to get to the right channel….
Update, 7:04 p.m.: The significance of Petr Prucha not being in the lineup didn’t hit me until he was just announced as a healthy scratch in a suit and tie. Ouch.
Update, 7:05 p.m.: The biggest cheer of the introductions? I thought it was Henrik Lundqvist, until Chris Drury was announced as captain.Â
Update, 7:09 p.m.: And here come Andy Bathgate, Harry Howell, and Adam Graves. Big cheers for all three. Jonathan Toews and Drury take the draw. It’s a tie, until Drury sweeps the leg and takes Toews down. OK, not really…
Update, 7:12 p.m.: John Amirante sings the anthem, and now it’s time to drop the puck. I tell you, even if you’re just a writer, if you can’t get excited about opening night, you’re in the wrong business.
Update, 7:20 p.m.: Ryan Callahan goes with Colin Fraser and prevails handily. Note to self: Don’t tick off Ryan Callahan.
Update, 7:24 p.m.: Rangers 1, Blackhawks 0: Wade Redden gets his first goal at the Garden after Chris Drury feathers a pass through the slot and Cristobal Huet kicks out a juicy rebound to Redden’s stick. The $39 million man now has two goals in his first three games.
Update, 7:31 p.m.: A couple of jittery shifts for Lauri Korpikoski. A few more like that for the Korpedo, and we might have another Dave ScatchardÂ sighting at the Training Center next week…
Update, end of first: Rangers 1, Hawks 1: The Hawks tie it up after Brian Campbell flies into the Rangers zone, and sends a shot off the post that kicks to Patrick Kane. The ice had been tilting in that direction, anyway, since Redden’s goal, so the Rangers need to tidy things up for the second. The good news for the Rangers is they’ll start it with a power play for 1:54.
Update, 8:23 p.m.: If his first goal is any indication, Aaron Voros is going to be a popular Ranger. He’s not Sean Avery, but that has plenty of positives to a team as well.
Update, 8:34 p.m.: Rangers 3, Hawks 1: We can safely say the Voros experiment with Dubinsky and Zherdev has been a success. Voros clears the middle for Dubinsky, and Dubinsky breaks in alone on Huet, where he beats the goalie under the crossbar. For what it’s worth, Huet has looked awful tonight.
Update, 9:09 p.m.: Rangers 3, Hawks 2. Game back on. On another note, Nigel Dawes has struggled all night. If someone’s going to come out for tomorrow, it could be him.
Update, 9:11 p.m.: Loyal reader Jen writes to tell me that the Dubinsky-Voros line is now being called the Playstation line, based on their playing NHL ’09 together and putting themselves on the same line.
Update, 9:19 p.m.: So the Playstation line it is. The only argument is who was more pumped after their goal — Voros, Dubinsky, or Zherdev?
Update, 9:27 p.m.: Time is winding down. The Rangers are on their way to being 3-o for the first time in 19 years, with three of their four goals coming from new players. So maybe there’s hope for this group yet…
Update, postgame: Good feelings all around after the win, including this line from Aaron Voros:
â€œI think people are going to learn thatâ€™s our identity â€” we work. Weâ€™ve got a lot of talent in here and this talent works. Itâ€™s a pretty mean mix, and itâ€™s going to be a fun team to watch and play with.â€
Brandon Dubinsky, meanwhile, confirmed the Playstation thing.
“There’s some times a tendency to put each other on the same line and see what happens. When Z’s guy scores a goal in the game, he gets all excited and celebrates on the couch.”