Some quick thoughts, then I have to run to football. Hope to make it back to a TV by gametime.
1) I may have said this last night, but the injuries to Drury and Prospal (and maybe Rozsival) should give the Rangers an opportunity to keep and use some extra young players. Can you say blessing in disguise? Because they sure might have been tempted to cut the roster down to 22 or 21 and send some guys to Hartford. Those couple of guys might now stay … and play. At least at the start.
2) I don’t mind Christensen playing with Gaborik and Frolov. He sure had some moments with Gaborik last year, and he certainly has some skill (how about that skills competition goal?). But my thing with Christensen is, I think last year was his upside. I think Stepan’s upside could be a lot higher. A lot.
3) Not to go on and on about Stepan, but he made two tremendous plays on the short-handed goal, and he scored a nice one in the shootout, and, hey, they had P.A. Parenteau around for a while last season just for shootouts. I really think Stepan’s head is as ready as his body. (The media really loves the way he handles himself in interviews, too). And if he can kill penalties and even if he just plays third-line minutes, he should be here.
4) Boog-a-loo, Derek Boogaard has sure gotten a lot of sniffs in front of the net, and he finally put one in. I wasn’t sure what to make about his post-game interview. Seemed a bit like he didn’t want to be there, but at times he had a smile that was difficult to interpret, and some short answers. It was odd. But as a player, maybe he just did need to drop some pounds and get into better shape. He’s sure had the chance to do that by playing in all five games, and he’ll play again tonight. What were the odds he’d score before he fought?
5) Decisions could come tomorrow. But looking at the numbers, the Rangers are at 27 now. If Drury and Prospal start on IR, that means the Rangers only need to cut two players before the opener, though they could cut one or two more than that. I think Todd White is done (based on John Tortorella’s luke-warm “He’s been OK” comments) and since he’s been outplayed by centers Christensen, Anisimov, Stepan and Boyle. And they won’t keep nine defensemen, or probably even eight (unless Rozsival is still hurting by the end of the week). So I’m guessing White and one of the group of defensemen are going to Hartford tomorrow: Eminger, Valentenko, Sauer … and I’m not sure if Ryan McDonagh is staying or not. Tim Kennedy is probably not going to be in the opening night lineup, so maybe he goes down to play games, too.
Seven days until Opening Night.
7: The Mick. Rod Gilbert. Ed Kranepool. John Elway.