Petr Prucha goes back in the lineup as expected tonight, where he’ll skate on a line with Brandon Dubinsky and Aaron Voros.
It’ll be the first game for the forward after 10 games as a healthy scratch, and he was fairly blunt about what he needs to do to avoid going back to the press box.
“It’s obvious I have to score a couple of points,” Prucha said. “A couple of goals. A couple of assists. That will keep me in the lineup because I think I play hard every night and I’m struggling with scoring goals and making points.”
That’s easier said than done, naturally. One of problems in the eight games Prucha has played is that he’s been too mindful of being given the hook. This isn’t limited to just Prucha, of course. While it’s important for players to know they’re spot in the lineup isn’t guaranteed — which is why the Rangers need a seventh defenseman — they also need to know they can afford to make the occasional mistake.
“The last couple of games I tried to play it safe,” Prucha said. “I didn’t want to do anything special where I could make a mistake and leave them to score. So right now I’m playing with great centerman in Dubi who’s always ready to backcheck. So hopefully I can try something offensively.”
Some other notes:
<li>As if the standings didn’t make the case already, Tom Renney emphasized the important of these next two games, saying the team need this sort of challenge.
“I think it needs it in a big way. It can do one of two things,” Renney said. “It’s going to really make us aware of how we have to play and how successful we have to be doing that. Or it’s going to expose us in areas of the game we have to improve upon. Either way, it’s important. What we can’t do is have the sort of outing where we’ve been successful and kid ourselves, too. We still have things to improve upon.”
<li>Not surprisingly, Renney declined to comment on Sean Avery’s latest episode, other than smirking and saying, “And I thought I was a risky guy.”
Meanwhile, even before all this the league had organized a conference call with Dion Phaneuf since the Flames are headed to New York on Sunday. But Phaneuf has made clear he’s no interested in talking about Avery. I wonder why…
<li>Finally, a quick programming note. For tomorrow night’s game in Montreal, I’ll be embarking on my first live in-game chat, something we may dust off on occasion this season. This will be old-school style dating back to the summer, when you didn’t have to look at my mug . Hopefully you can join me.