A few quick thoughts before heading downstairs for the pregame media briefing:
<li>Sean Avery is returning to New York! No, not to play for the Rangers, but “to meet with Gary Bettman”:http://www.lohud.com/article/20081203/SPORTS01/81203004/-1/SPORTS. Maybe this would be the time for Avery to familiarize himself with the NHL PR department that he didn’t even know existed.
Meanwhile, hat tip to the blog, “The Empty Netter”:http://theemptynetter.blogspot.com/2008/12/hey-hanrahan.html for referring to Avery as having his “Hey, Hanrahan!” moment. And if you have to ask what that means, you’re not a hockey fan.
<li>Good news for all those NHL coaches on the hot seat: They no longer have to worry about Paul Maurice stepping in to take over their job.
Bad news for those hockey coaches on the hot seat: They now “have to worry about Peter Laviolette.”:http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=258260&lid=headline&lpos=topStory_nhl.
<li>On a serious note, both Marc Staal and Chris Drury spent yesterday handing out coats to kids in the city, and relished the experience.
“It was great,” Staal said. “It was like instant happiness when you handed them a coat.”
Update, 5:22 p.m.: Laughably little news to report from downstairs, unless you consider Tom Renney musing on hockey players and guns (there aren’t any); Pittsburgh’s dynamic duo (they’re pretty good); and whether Sean Avery ever crossed the line in New York (it would be “counterproductive” to talk about it).
I will check in with udpates in a bit. At 6:40, by the way, you can hear me on “MVN Live”:http://mvn.com/outsider/2008/12/mvn-live-wednesday-night-hockey.html to talk about tonight’s game.
Update, 7:09 p.m.: Pretty good scrap between Colton Orr and Eric Godard. Personally, I love the slightly deranged/satisfied look Orr wears after a fight. It’s the expression the rest of us wear after a good meal.
Update, 7:38 p.m.: Where have you gone, Marek Malik? Add Dmitri Kalinin back to the list of Rangers defensemen who have driven fans batty. I believe that leaves Marc Staal and maybe Paul Mara who remain in fans’ good graces. But the season’s young…
Update, 8:31 p.m.: 2-1 Penguins. Disregard the score for a moment and the Rangers have at least shown more life than at any point on Sunday against the Panthers. Still, they continue to struggle to forge a sustained attack. And with Scott Gomez now playing with Markus Naslund and Nikolai Zherdev, and Brandon Dubinsky and Chris Drury continuing to struggle, it feels like the Rangers’ scoring punch is limited to one line.
Update, 9:06 p.m.: If nothing else, Petr Prucha has earned a spot back in the lineup tomorrow. The kid has been great, especially after not playing for 10 games.
Update, 9:10 p.m.: Let the record show that I made the above statement before Prucha just tied the game. Nice to see hard work rewarded.
Update, 9:30 p.m.: Ugh. Another shootout. Regardless of the result, a fairly