So much for Tom Renney sticking with his top line of Markus Naslund-Scott Gomez-Chris Drury. The coach is breaking the trio up, and he has Lauri Korpikoski’s aching wrists (I said “arm” before so I believe this still counts) to thank.
With Korpikoski out, Renney opted against putting Dan Fritsche or Ryan Callahan at center, and instead will move the Rangers captain between Naslund and Dan Fritsche.
So let’s review the lines:
A couple of things on this: One, Renney said he hoped this was a “one-off” meaning he could move Drury back to wing if Korpikoski is well enough to play tomorrow. That said, the coach would wait to see what happens tonight either way, so it’s safe to say if he sees any worthwhile potential in the new lines, he might stick with those.
I think we can all agree that the old top line didn’t set the terribly high, so I doubt the coach would be in a rush to go back to it.
In other news:
<li>In case you thought they forgot, the Rangers sound like they’re still trying to make a move to deal with the 15 forward/six defenseman imbalance they’ve been carrying since the start of the season.
“We have to look at it,” Renney said. “I know Glen (Sather) is obviously trying to do what he can. It seems like every year itâ€™s always eight, 10, 12 games before teams identify with their needs so if you want to do something or make a move on somebody or bring somebody in or whatever, it seems to take time.
“It’s funny you say that. I was driving in tonight asking myself, ‘Can Orrsy really pivot?'”
Needless to say, Renney hopes it doesn’t come to that.
<li>As reported earlier, Stephen Valiquette gets the start tonight against the Leafs so Henrik Lundqvist can play tomorrow against Detroit. Valiquette went 2-0 against Toronto last year, with a 2.08 goals-against-average.
<li>The coaches and broadcasters will be wearing purple ties tonight as part of the “Hockey Fights Cancer” initiative.
Update, 7:00 p.m.: I admit, I occasionally refer to the Rangers’ “first line” and “second line”, but really, it’s irrelevant — especially now. No question, when Drury, Gomez, and Naslund were together, that was the Rangers’ top line. But as long as there is not a huge discrepancy in ice time — and there usually is with the “fourth line” — there’s no real order.
Update, 7:04 p.m.: Of course, while the order of lines doesn’t really matter, who starts the game occasionally says something. Proof that Renney was OK with Paul Mara’s penalty from Wednesday night? The defenseman gets his first start of the season.
Update, 9:40 p.m.: At least on entertainment value, this went from the worst game of the season to the best after a wild third period and overtime. Now we’re off to a shootout, although there appear to be some Zamboni problems…