A few notes after the Rangers’ first practice back from the two-day Christmas break:
<li>The on-again, off-again Petr Prucha saga took another twist today with Prucha working in on a line with Brandon Dubinsky and Lauri Korpikoski. Should this happen, Fred Sjostrom would go back to the fourth line and Aaron Voros would be a healthy scratch for the first time.
Tom Renney said he was only giving the combinations a look and wouldn’t commit to it for tomorrow, but this season it seems “a look” one day at practice has usually meant a reality the next night in a game. So stay tuned.
Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that Larry Brooks “lobbied for pretty much this very move by Tom Renney in his story in today’s paper”:http://www.nypost.com/seven/12262008/sports/rangers/rangers_cannot_afford_to_sit_prucha_145901.htm. I asked Brooks if in tomorrow’s paper he could do something about the Garden food.
<li>I asked Chris Drury to clarify “some of his comments after Tuesday’s meltdown against the Capitals”:http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/2008/12/23/chris-drury-tries-a-jedi-mind-trick/, especially since many people — myself included — were taken aback by them. Drury’s point was not that he was at all happy with the outcome, but that it was important to note the bigger picture.
“I’m not really concerned with credit or what other people say around the league, but I thought it was important to give some perspective,” Drury said.
“On July 2, if you told people — fans and media — that we’d have the record we have and the points we have, they probably would have taken it. So coming off the ice, hearing the boos after what had happened, it was my way of venting and maybe reminding people we have done some good things and we are a good team. I wasn’t happy about it. No one was. But as bad as third period was and the end result was, I thought it was important for us to not let it ruin our Christmas and to allow ourselves to feel good about what we’ve done.”
What I detect from Drury is a need to bolster his team’s confidence, even if he struck an awkward note in doing so. It’s not that he’s at all satisfied with how this team is playing right now, because few people are. But it is a way of reminding people both inside and outside the Rangers’ dressing room that if they were a team good enough to get off to the best start in franchise history, they should be good enough to pull themselves out of the current rut.
It might be wishful thinking, but that’s part of a captain’s job. More on that in a bit…
<li>The team reconvened with a meeting before practice today.
“It was just, ‘We gotta get going here,’ Ryan Callahan said of the meeting’s theme. “It’s the second half almost and we can’t keep going on being this inconsistent. We have to come to work and get ready.”
The team spent about a good 20 minutes practicing the power play, in which Dan Girardi scored two goals from the point. That said, you should also know the Rangers pass up almost as many shots on the power play in practice as they do in games.
<li>The Christmas roster freeze lifts at noon tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean the team couldn’t call up someone — Corey Potter, anyone? — in time for tomorrow’s morning skate. The only thing the Rangers couldn’t do before then is send someone down. Whether any of that happens is another story…