Some notes after a spirited practice at the MSG Training Center:
<li>Scott Gomez is still day-to-day with an ankle injury, and didn’t practice today. Tom Renney said he’ll check on Gomez’s status in the morning, so there’s at least the chance he’ll play tomorrow night against the Bruins. But don’t count on it.
Because of Gomez’s absence, the Rangers practiced in the same lines as Wednesday night.
<li>The consensus is that tomorrow might be the biggest test of the year for the Rangers given the Bruins hot play of late (bigger even than their trip to Detroit last month). The Bruins under Claude Julien have won eight of 10, and ripped apart the Canadiens 6-1 last night.
“I was impressed with them when they hired that coach,” Renney said of Julien. “He’s a pretty good friend. We’ve worked together, so I’m not surprised at all.”
<li>How do you explain Dan Girardi’s place among defensive scoring leaders with 14 points?
Like a lot of defensemen, Girardi’s first priority when he was called up to the Rangers after the All-Star break in the 2006-07 season was to just be responsible in his own zone first. Having nailed down that, he’s allowed the other part of his game to slowly emerge.
“I would just say he keeps the game simple,” his defensive partner Wade Redden said. “That’s one of the things he does and he does it very effectively and does everything with authority. And you get rewarded when you play the game hard like that.”
When I asked Redden who he would compare Girardi to, the defenseman said Rob Blake, which isn’t bad for a player who wasn’t even drafted.
<li>One more thing about Brian Burke’s impending free agency. Again, I don’t see Glen Sather stepping aside anytime soon. But it is worth noting that before the lockout, Burke was reportedly in talks with Sather about coming to the Rangers as the GM-in-waiting, only to have Jim Dolan nix the idea.
Consider this John Dellapina (remember him?) story from a couple of years back:
The Daily News has learned that at least twice over the last few years, Sather has had discussions with high-profile hockey executives about having them join the club’s front office. According to several league sources, former Vancouver GM Brian Burke was one of the respected hockey men whom Sather considered bringing in as the eventual general manager, allowing him to remain solely as team president.
Dolan understandably was not anxious to sign off on a major restructuring of the club’s front office with the 2004-05 season threatened – and ultimately canceled – by a lockout.
So it’s not like there isn’t a history there. More later…