So the carousel at third line wing continues to turn as Petr Prucha takes Dan Fritsche’s spot alongside Ryan Callahan and Lauri Korpikoski tonight against the Sabres.
Prucha hasn’t played since the two games in Prague, meaning this is his season debut for games not played miles from his hometown. He didn’t score in those games, but that was probably the best showing for the third line so far this season.
“He just plays hard,” Tom Renney said. “He’s always a good contributor in different ways. We’d like to see him feel good about contributing offensively, but we’ll take the rest of it no matter what.”
A win tonight will give the Rangers the best start in franchise history at 6-0.
“For us you have to go in with the attitude that we can win 82 times this year,” Brandon Dubinsky said. “Because each night the score starts at 0-0.”
Some more notes:
<li>I asked Renney what he’s seeing out of his top line of Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, and Markus Naslund, which hasn’t scored a goal since returning from Europe.
“Trying to manufacture probably a little too much,” Renney said. “Tryting to set up the perfect goal. Most teams are pretty good at this, which is work the ice together, not just three guys, but all five…When you become disconnected for trying to do the extraordinary, at times that compromises any line. I think these guys want badly to make a difference in a game, and they have to understand each shift is a process in itself. It’ll come.”
<li>As expected, the Rangers European scouts, including Russian scout Vladimir Luchenko, will be in attendance today for Alexei Cherepanov’s funeral. No one else from the team could get Russian visas. Renney hadn’t spoken to Jaromir Jagr or Omsk head coach Wayne Fleming, but he did trade text messages with both.
Meanwhile, I asked Dubinsky if he had spoken to Jagr, and he said was meaning to call him. By all accounts, it sounded like the former Rangers captain had the type of mentoring relationship with Cherepanov that he had with Dubinsky, and Dubinsky said he wasn’t surprised.
“He’s always one to care about his teammates,” he said. “He’s probably seeing his hockey days are limited so he wants to pass along his knowledge down to younger players. That’s one thing about him he never got credit for, how genuine a person he was. I know a lot of people knocked him for being selfish, but he wasn’t. He just had his own way of doing things.”
Given the amount of credit Jagr has received recently as a teacher, I asked Dubinsky what many would assume is an absurd question: whether Jagr would ever want to coach. I personally couldn’t see it, but hey, stranger things have happened.
“That’s probably a stretch,” Dubinsky said. “I just don’t think he wants to manage 25 guys. He’d like to work with guys one-on-one, but it’s not his way to want to look after a group.
“He certainly helped me a lot — not only did he help me with my skills, but he helped me realize I had the ability, which gave me confidence. He was pretty instrumental for me.”
Update, 1:09 p.m.: Blueshirt Bulletin has “a translation of an interview with Jagr about Cherepanov”:http://www.blueshirtbulletin.com/2008/10/sabres-vs-strea.html. Very sad stuff.
<li>Patrick Rissmiller skated today for the first time since injuring his ankle Saturday in Philadelphia.
<li>Wade Redden’s dad is in town to visit his son, making his first visit ever to New York.