Naturally there was the obligatory media scrum around Wade Redden downstairs just now, when we asked the former Ottawa defenseman about playing his old team. The plan is to re-enact the same scene Wednesday when Markus Naslund faces Vancouver.
Come to think of it, maybe we can just dust off the same quotes from Redden and use them for Naslund.
“It’ll be good to see (insert former teammates). I really enjoyed my time in (whatever city),” (whatever player) said. “I’ll always remember the time we (insert team highlight here). But it was time to turn the page. Now I’m a Ranger, but I want to thank (insert former coach, general manager, trainer, pilates instructor) for giving me a chance in (whatever city).”
OK, so Redden didn’t exactly say that, and it wouldn’t be completely ethical to replicate quotes like that. But it sure would be a good way to save time.
Jokes aside, here is what Redden said about facing the Senators tonight. He said he met up with Daniel Alfredsson and Chris Phillips, and only then did the significance of tonight start to hit home.
“I just think it’s the final recognition, going up against the old guys,” Redden said. “I think it’s a good thing. It really hit home just seeing the guys yesterday. It was different. I’m excited about playing them. It’s been a big change this year. I don’t know. I’m just looking forward to getting out there against them and knowing that I am against them. It’s good to finally play them.”
So there you have it. Nice guy, Wade Redden. But he’s not exactly Richard Pryor in front of a tape recorder.
Meanwhile, apropos of nothing in particular (other than of course that the Rangers power play is still struggling) I asked Tom Renney if there were any forwards he would consider using at the point.
“Maybe, but I’m just not even there yet in my own mind,” Renney said. “I’m just thinking about this group of guys, this group of defensemen finding the answer.”
I’m not surprised by Renney’s answer. Truth is, unlike with Matt Cullen two years ago or even Martin Straka last year, there is no obvious forward worth trying at the point.
Chris Drury was tried there for a spell last season, but he wasn’t entirely comfortable (plus the thinking is Drury is too valuable in front of the net). Scott Gomez obviously has the puck-carrying ability but doesn’t have the shot, while Ryan Callahan might have the shot but probably doesn’t have the defensive sense needed to defend a rush.
Actually, if the coach ever wanted to be bold he could experiment with Nikolai Zherdev since a player at the point is actually afforded the room to carry the puck and make a play. But don’t count on it. For all of his obvious gifts, Zherdev is enough of a defensive liability at forward. Put him at the point and Renney would be in a cold sweat the entire time.