I know, I know, pipe down.
But if you’ve been paying enough attention to the Rangers you know they have an uncanny knack for making ordinary goaltenders look superhuman — from Wade Dubliewicz to Joey MacDonald to most recently, Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers.
This could be a reflection of opponents simply elevating their games when their No. 1 goalie isn’t there to bail them out (which the Rangers have done as well with Stephen Valiquette), or it could be symptomatic of the Rangers’ larger problem of overcomplicating a simple game.
Regardless, if you’re expecting two easy points at the Rock tonight in Martin Brodeur’s absence, I’d urge you to reconsider.
Meanwhile, some notes:
<li>Optional skate in Newark today, which means we might not have a full sense of tonight’s lineup until shortly before game time. It’s unlikely Tom Renney will make any lineup changes, although one possibility is Nigel Dawes since the left wing has enjoyed some success against the Devils in his long, storied career (meaning last season, when he had four goals and an assist, and a shootout goal). So stay tuned on that…
<li>Speaking of the Rangers’ frequent lineup and line changes this season, I did “follow up on that issue in today’s paper”:http://www.lohud.com/article/20081112/SPORTS01/811120386/-1/SPORTS. On that front, reader Ethan raised an excellent point in an e-mail to me.
“Question: Why does Renney show so much restraint and patience with players who are struggling – but is so quick to jumble lines that are struggling?”
It’s true, the Rangers coach is selectively patient in some areas, and less so with others. But I certainly wouldn’t say he’s been patient with every player who has been struggling. Has the coach been patient with Petr Prucha, who hasn’t been in the lineup for more than three games in a row? And what about Patrick Rissmiller, who played in only two games and since been exiled into limbo?
Granted, neither of those players made much of a case for themselves when they did play. But the reality is Renney is far more likely to be patient with an established player (i.e. Wade Redden, Michal Rozsival) than he is with someone who can’t afford to squawk at the occasional scratch.
Is that a double standard? Probably. But it’s also part of the reason Renney in his tenure as coach has never “lost” his veterans.
When it becomes a problem is if the coach isn’t necessarily putting his best lineup on the ice. As I said the other night, I was originally a proponent of the Rangers only carrying six defensemen because it was an easy way to save money toward the salary cap while also making sure you’re not wasting players on the bench.
The problem I’m now seeing with this scenario is if you’re not carrying any extras, there is no threat of a player having to sit out, which can potentially contribute to a player’s complacency.
It might not be at that point now, but it’s something to be leery of nonetheless.