Well, if Tom Renney is going to deprive any defensemen of ice time for not delivering on expectations, he’ll have to deprive them in 2009.
With Corey Potter going back to Hartford yet again, the Rangers are back to having only six blueliners, which means Renney isn’t in a position to bench anyone tonight. Michal Rozsival goes back in after missing Saturday’s loss, and Wade Redden and the red-hot Dmitri Kalinin (riding a one-game goal-scoring streak) remain in as well.
Why the team’s continued aversion to carrying a seventh defenseman? The easy answer has to do with saving money toward the cap, while also allowing Potter to play as opposed to sitting with the Rangers. But it’s not like Potter would cost the Rangers that much, and it’s not like he’s been festering on the bench for weeks on end.
And one would think even having him around might serve as a reminder to the players in front of him. But if that’s going to happen, it’ll have to be after the new year.
In other news:
<li>Scott Gomez skated on his own before today’s optional skate after missing yesterday’s practice with the flu, and will play tonight. Renney said he was toying with playing Gomez with Markus Naslund and Lauri Korpikoski, but he hadn’t made up his mind. Either way, expect Brandon Dubinsky to be reunited with Nikolai Zherdev.
<li>Petr Prucha also goes back in the lineup in place of Aaron Voros, and will skate with either the Gomez line or the Dubinsky. Dan Fritsche will also be a scratch.
<li>Rick DiPietro is expected to play tonight for the Isles, who will however be without Doug Weight.
More in a bit…