Who’s on first (line)?


Now that the cuts have been pretty much made, and most of the decisions, too, there’s one thing still to ponder.

We kind of started the discussion last night.

Who is going to end up the first-line left wing on Opening Night?

Guess the next two preseason games are worth watching for that. Because, IMO, Wojtek Wolski certainly hasn’t sewn up that job.

So today in Slovakia (11 a.m./MSG) and tomorrow in Switzerland (2 p.m./MSG), watch who gets the shot there, and how they handle it? Will it be Brandon Dubinsky? Will it be Brian Boyle? What about Derek Stepan (has that option even been considered)? Or will it be Wolski simply because John Tortorella doesn’t want to mess with his second and third lines?

And, please, let’s stop the Sean Avery talk that’s been surrounding this equation since Brad Richards landed.

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  1. bull dog line on

    I think it should be Dubi. he plays a power forward type game, goes into the corners, and is not afraid to mix it up. the problem becomes, what to do with Wolski. do you play him on the 2nd line? if not there is no place for him. LW is not a deep position on the Rangers. after Dubi and Wolski, there really is not anybody who is a scorer at that position. I think you have to give Wolski a long look on one of the top 2 lines. if he fails you will have to address LW in the trade market.

  2. wolski should have been bought out long ago. is Stepan going to be a future center? if so, di it and move artie to a wing and move dubi to first line LW. next you need to have Avery play 3rd line minutes so he can be effective annoying top line players. he along with boyle, rupp, Feds and prust,can all bang bodies. then you have zuc & EC? really?
    there’s some hartford kids with as much talent but size too.
    opening night lines;
    Dubi Richards Gabby
    Artie Stepan Cally
    Avery Boyle Prust
    Rupp EC Feds

    Girardi Delzotto
    Sauer McDonagh
    Emmy Bell

  3. more line changes! thats a great idea. i havent heard anybody suggest putting dubinsky on the first line yet. i hope torts thinks of that

  4. Good morning, boneheads!

    Wolski will have to prove he can’t play the first line winger. Until then, he is in. That was their plan after Richards was signed. Otherwise they would’ve bought him out in August. He is making $4M (cap hit 3.8M), and that’s too much to keep him around and play 3rd-4th line minutes. How long will Torts tolerate him not being productive? Who knows. My guess is a month or so.

    Dubinsky on the L with Gaborik/ Richards makes sense, but only on the premises that the line needs a puck retriever/banger/protector. I don’t necessarily agree with that. This line isn’t designed to dump and chase and bang some garbage goals in. It’s a finesse line that will require defense that is mobile rather than pure stay home guys. That could work with Gaborik as the only threat. Add Richards, and they could burn you unless you have a d-men who can skate.

    If it doesn’t work with WW, I’d like to see Stepan tried there. First, there is nothing wrong to keep your future center on the wing for a while where he learns from one of the smartest pivots in the game. But, most importantly, I think he could be very effective with his ice vision especially if the opposition covers Richards successfully. And his right handed shot cominng off the L wing could be deadly.

    After that- it’s all guessing. Knowing Torts, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see 99% ( :-) of the team playing there at some point or another. Avery? I don’t think he is in their plans strategically long term. He may end up there occasionally. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is traded in March to some contender.

    Otherwise it may end up being a revolving door. We all get too upset with Torts for not keeping the lines together. Not his style. That’s why it’s surprising that he’s kept Dubinsky-AA-Callahan line together for that long.

  5. Let’s please start the season on a positive note and stop the negativity, no matter who the player is. There’ll be plenty of time for voicing concerns during the season.
    Get off on a good foot and send good vibes to all the players. We want a CUP.

    This has been a public service announcement. Thank You!

  6. j/k lou. i think we’ll see everyone up there a some point this season. the d looks terrible without staal though. for all the offense richards gives us, it wont make up for what staal and sauer both do for the team.

  7. Agree with 99% of what you said, ilb, but I can’t see any contending team wanting to risk integrating Avery into their line-up at the deadline (or probably ever).

  8. You’ll be surprised, LW3H. At the deadline he won’t cost much, this is his contract year, and I can see someone taking a shot at him if they need to add a little snarl as a rental.

  9. Shared cap hit on Avery is void if fe is traded. He also has a NTC,. For better or worse he’s not going anywhere.

  10. yea hes not goin anywhere. he should be in the lineup for division rivalgames. thats about it. ec can play the rest. maybe keep avery in for toronto too.

  11. “IMO, Wojtek Wolski certainly hasn’t sewn up that job.”

    based on what? 1 game in Prague where that line didn’t score? It must be Wolski’s fault whenever that line doesn’t score.

  12. After August 15th he doesn’t have fully NTC, CT. He can list 10 teams….And at the trade deadline, even with his full contract, he’ll cost peanuts.

    But you could be right, of course. And I could be 99% wrong. He may not go anywhere.

  13. Completely agree with Bob that nobody should be making snap judgements on a player’s value, position in the organisation and potential performance based on very limited pre-season evidence.

  14. >>Or will it be Wolski simply because John Tortorella doesn’t want to mess with his second and third >>lines?

    If so, our team will have the softest First Line in the NHL. Please, no Wolski, no Christensen!

    [Heads Up!]

  15. by next year both of them are gone. bjork and thomas are daddys boys. when the hell is kreider gettin here?? i wanna see one of our top draft choices do something otherthan staal

  16. i think what carp was saying is that since wolski is coming off his worst season and is abig question mark, he hasnt exactly gotten the job either and since were all discussing options for the top line every day, most of us agree

  17. Well I suppose it depends on what role a team would need him for. In general, and not specifically to the Rangers, where is he going to play? Not a top 6 winger, never was and not with 19 goals in his the equivalent of 2 full seasons in his second tour in NY. Doesn’t play special teams so I’m going to guess that there will be plenty of other bottom 6 wingers that will be available at the trade deadline with a cap hit less than the pro-rated nearly $4mn without the baggage of Avery.

  18. Wolski is not that soft, 47 hits last season, 55 hits in 08-09. Now he is probably in better shape and faster after his summer workouts so I expect him to be the hit per game player.

    Richards is very disappointing in the hitting department.

    Gaborik is also not that soft 46 hits in 62 games and 59 hits in 76 games.

  19. teams might start to look at avery if he can do what he did when he first got here. thats it. other than that, he almost useless.

  20. I don’t know why we are discussing it now, give it at least 3-5 regular season games, some people just don’t have any patience. 1 game the line doesn’t score and they start panicking.

  21. Avery killed penalties under Renney and was very effective. Tort for some reason is not using him there.

  22. well were talkin about it cuz thats what carp posted about. but yea it is getting beat to death. what else is up besides line combos. staal? thats just depressing. dont even wanna talk about that right now.

  23. I dislike players being lazily tagged as “soft” as much as anyone, Bob, but I’d take the hits stat with a pile of salt, particularly for Rangers players, since MSG scorers notoriously inflate the numbers.

  24. well only half the games are played in MSG, so it all averages out.

    Gaborik had 15 hits in 17 games when with the Wild.

  25. the other reason it’s not a great stat: If your team doesn’t have the puck much, you have more opportunities to hit. And vice versa.

  26. I can say that the goals stat is not a very good stat because if your team has the puck you have more of an opportunity to score and vice versa, and it doesn’t show how many times you were robbed by a goalie or hit the post.

  27. Dubinsky, good idea.

    This way he can try and beat 2 defenders at the blueline and either;

    A. Lose the puck

    B. Draw his line-mates offsides

    C. Fall down trying to do so

  28. wow we will be playing against Skokan(our draft pick) and Balej, as well as Satan and somebody named Michal Macho.

  29. Ah, it’s been a while since we had a “Dubi falls down on his own” post. Still don’t understand them, but comforting to see them.

    Bob – Do all teams play 50% of their games at MSG?

  30. What I noticed about Wolski is that he often reaches in with his stick similar to Jagr, instead of takng the guy out with a hit.

  31. Dubi might have an excuse this year because of all that money he got from holding out….oh wait.

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