According to everyone involved, it was the plan all along to have Stephen Valiquette start tomorrow in Ottawa. That it comes after Henrik Lundqvist allowed five goals to Vancouver appears to be only a case of curious timing.
I made the case yesterday that that game against the Canucks was an important step for Valiquette seeing how it was his first outing since allowing five third period goals to Toronto earlier this month. He agreed, but also said his confidence hadn’t wavered regardless.
“I guess I can say that I’m fortunate that it happened,” Valiquette said. “It’s nice to play. Practice has been great so I didn’t have any questions even the day after that game in Toronto. So it was right back to business with Benoit (Allaire). I felt confident going in against Vancouver. So as long as you know it, it comes naturally.”
After undergoing two acupuncture treatments for his left ankle (in which he was admittedly squeamish) Scott Gomez made it through his first full practice without incident.. The plan is for Gomez to make the trip to Ottawa and skate before the game, but he definitely won’t play. Depending on how he recovers, Monday against the ‘Yotes is a possibility.
“I’m not in game shape. It’s still there, but it’s getting stronger,” Gomez said. “But it was a step forward to be able to practice for the first time.”
The difference between the Rangers’ slow starts and when they’ve been able to muster some kind of attack late? For lack of a better description, they’ve turned off their brains.
“Sometimes it’s when you decide, ‘It’s 4-0, let’s just go out and play,’ that’s when we’re at our best,” Chris Drury said. “It seems like that’s been our habit when we’re down.”
So how do you play that way right from the start? Good question.
The reality is it’s easy to get out of your own way when you’re behind in a game and you start to take more chances. It might be harder when you’re coming off a bad loss, and you don’t want to replicate the same mistakes.
Definitely something to watch tomorrow.
Update, 2:20 p.m.: For those wondering why Patrick Rissmiller was placed on waivers again today, it’s because players who are on waivers and not assigned have to be put through again after 30 days or 10 NHL games.
Although on a conditioning assignment in Hartford, Rissmiller had still not been assigned, and his period was up this weekend.
Should he clear again, the Rangers would have the ability to make a roster move without having to wait 24 hours.