So the Islanders are the worst team in the NHL, and now they’re again out with Rick DiPietro, who Scott Gordon just announced will miss tonight with a strained groin.
All of that would be reason for the Rangers to exhale, except, of course, they’re in no position to exhale. Losers of three straight, a win tonight, regardless of the quality of the opponent, allows the Rangers a brief respite from the mild hysteria that has surrounded them.
A loss means it will be a looong five days until the next game (which is in Washington against the Caps, by the way).
<li>DiPietro’s most recent injury means Joey MacDonald gets the start. For anyone who thinks that’s reason to rejoice, I recommend reviewing the tape of the last meeting between these teams, when MacDonald morphed briefly into Vladislav Tretiak.
<li>As reported from the morning skate, Petr Prucha goes in for Aaron Voros, and will skate on a line with Brandon Dubinsky and Nikolai Zherdev. That puts Lauri Korpikoski with Scott Gomez and Markus Naslund. The Korpedo, who was arguably the Rangers’ best player in the loss to Jersey on Saturday, said he was excited to play with Gomez, who once upon a time was a pretty good player.
“He’s a great player. I just have to let him do his thing and get open,” Korpikoski said. “I’ve been feeling more comfortable and playing with more confidence. I think it’s just time. I’ve had about 30 games to play, and at the beginning, I think I may have been trying to do too much.”
<li>I asked Tom Renney for further explanation on the decision to send down Corey Potter. As suspected, the coach cited salary cap issues.
“It’s economics as much as anything at this point in time,” Renney said. “He is close. Hartford is right there. We’re going into a couple of days off after tonight. We’ll evaluate him at a game in time and see where it plays out.”
It does make sense that if Potter is not going to play, he should be in Hartford. But if Renney is going to follow through on what he said yesterday about holding struggling players more accountable, that means Potter should be summoned and inserted into the lineup if other players continue to falter. That’s especially true if, as Renney suggested, Potter is capable of playing at the NHL level.
“I think he’s on the cusp of an NHL career,” Renney said. “The games he’s played for us, as I’ve said to him, the first few shifts were iffy but he settles right in and plays hockey.”
<li>Renney said he was only recently aware of the report about “Alexei Cherepanov using performance-enhancing drugs before he died”:,http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=3797614 and didn’t know enough to comment.
Update, 7:55 p.m.: You know your team is in a bad way when you’re losing by a goal to the worst team in the league, and you’re thinking it’s not that bad.