Update, 1:30 p.m.: It sounds like the Rangers will be seeing Joey MacDonald in net and not Rick DiPietro. The Islanders will make a formal announcement later today based on the DiPietro’s visit with doctors.
Earlier: Let’s see, the Rangers are atop the NHL standings right now and the Islanders are at the very bottom.
The Rangers’ franchise goaltender is coming off two sharp weekend wins, while Rick DiPietro is a question mark tonight because of an injury.
As far as I’m concerned, we might as well reward the two points right now.
To the Islanders, of course.
You think I’m kidding, and yet anyone who has paid attention to this storied Rangers-Islanders rivalry knows that the team that has the least going for it is the team that embraces these games most. As compared to even last year, the talent gap between the two teams has only widened, and yet for that reason alone, I am convinced the Islanders will be a challenge tonight.
It sounds silly, I know. Welcome to hockey.
Some other thoughts:
<li>No word on the starting goalie tonight, but I’d be surprised if Henrik Lundqvist doesn’t play. As good as Stephen (“Don’t call me a minor leaguer”) Valiquette has been for the Rangers, the schedule has eased up enough where Lundqvist is afforded some rest between games. That said, I could see Valiquette playing Saturday night in Toronto.
<li>Chris Drury not only is without a goal this season, but I’m fairly certain he’s responsible for the global financial crisis, Saturday’s rain, and the lack of quality sitcoms on TV as well.
Look, the guy has been a disappointment so far this season. No one is going to dispute that, least of all Drury. But some of the criticism I’ve been reading about the Rangers’ captain is still unjust. While the Rangers certainly aren’t paying Drury $7 million for three assists in 11 games, he has still found multiple ways to contribute through his own-zone play, his penalty killing, and the way in which the rest of his team has embraced him as their new captain.
Again, no one’s trying to give the guy a pass. But seeing how he’s still healthy and in the prime of his career, I have a hard time believing that Drury is going to struggle like this all season. More likely is that this goal-scoring slump has taken on a life of its own, to the extent that the player’s confidence is in tatters.
How does that change? Very often with one goal, however it comes: an end-to-end rush, a one-timer from the slot, or even a puck that bounces off his elbow before trickling into the net.
Until then, I agree that you have reason to be concerned. But given the Rangers’ record so far, I’m not sure you’re in a position to complain.