I’ve been pushing the “Fred Sjostrom off the fourth line” button for a while now. I don’t offer this as a cure-all for what ails the Rangers, but I do think one of the team’s more versatile forwards is better served playing on a more offensive-minded line.
Alas, Sjostrom “finally gets his shot tonight”:http://weblogs.newsday.com/sports/hockey/rangers/blog/2008/12/live_from_atlanta_valiquette_r.html playing on a line with Brandon Dubinsy and Aaron Voros.
Among the other changes, and there seems to be a ton (first reported by “Zip”:http://weblogs.newsday.com/sports/hockey/rangers/blog/, who was at the skate):
<li>Wade Redden back in in place of Corey Potter.
<li>Nigel Dawes back in skating on a line with Chris Drury and Ryan Callahan.
<li>Lauri Korpikoski taking Sjostrom’s shot on the fourth line with Blair Betts and Colton Orr.
<li>The reunion of the offensively dangerous and perhaps defensively liable line of Markus Naslund, Scott Gomez, and Nikolai Zherdev.
<li>Stephen Valiquette in for Henrik Lundqvist, who will instead spend the game on the phone with Mats Sundin pleading with the center to come to New York (I kid about the last part).
<li>Petr Prucha back out after three games in.
Will the changes pay off? Stay tuned…