Some red-eyed thoughts the morning after a momentum-killing loss to the Habs:
<li>If not for the team’s up-and-down play the past month, this loss would have been easy to stomach. The Rangers played hard, arguably controlled most of the game, but took some inopportune penalties and didn’t have Henrik Lundqvist at his absolute best. No big deal. The problem is every loss these days is emblematic of something bigger, and last night it was a lack of discipline.
<li>There were times when watching Petr Prucha last night that I probably had the same thought as many of you: how the heck was this guy out of the lineup as long as he was?
The scrappy wing has been phenomenal, and clearly has regained the confidence that had eroded over the previous few seasons. And that’s part of the problem: As good as Prucha has been, he wasn’t nearly this effective when plugged into the lineup on occasion earlier in the season. What’s apparent now is that Tom Renney should have given the forward more time to play through his struggles.
Meanwhile, I hate to spoil the feel-good vibe when it comes to Prucha, but one would think that in just a few short games, Prucha has made himself significantly more attractive to other teams. If the Rangers were looking to move him earlier in the season but couldn’t fetch anything worthwhile in return, they might be able to do so now. And there’s no question that Glen Sather wants and needs to do something to upgrade this team for the stretch drive.
<li>Speaking of upgrades, time to get the Korpedo back in the game. As with Prucha, Lauri Korpikoski provides energy on the forecheck and has an ability to create something out of nothing. And that’s more than I can say for Aaron Voros, who at 6-foot-3, 215-pounds has created very little.
<li>Very cool decision by NBC’s Universal Sports to broadcast the Kontinental Hockey League’s All-Star Game from Red Square in Moscow Saturday morning at 8 a.m.. It will be Team Jagr versus Team Yashin at an even more historic site than Wrigley Field. If you don’t get Universal Sports, it will also be available on “UniversalSports.com”:http://www.universalsports.com.
<li>On another programming note, expect Henrik Lundqvist to get his first All-Star nod in a couple of hours. Also, come back here later today for a rare guest post by Journal News columnist Sam Borden.