Tom Foolery

Back before a critical afternoon match-up between the Rangers and the top - seeded Boston Bruins.

Having parted ways with Dan Fritsche (for seventh defenseman Erik Reitz), the onus will now be on Nigel Dawes, Petr Prucha, Aaron Voros, and Lauri Korpikoski to try and establish themselves as part of the top four lines.

In addition, the presence of Reitz also places a little pressure on the likes of Paul Mara, Wade Redden, and Dmitri Kalinin. Perhaps this is the little fire that the defense needs to shore up and get back on track.

Today's lineup will look like:
Markus Naslund - Scott Gomez - Ryan Callahan
Nigel Dawes - Lauri Korpikoski - Chris Drury
Aaron Voros - Brandon Dubinsky - Nik Zherdev
Freddy Sjostrom - Blair Betts - Colton Orr

All the D - pairings will be the same.

I have to admit I am a bit surprised by this. Drury is a proven NHL center, and he is being stepped over and forced to wing for Korpikoski? No disrespect to the "Korpedo," but Drury should have the second line center spot.

Which leads me to our title, Tom Foolery...

As anyone who visits here will attest, I like Head Coach Tom Renney and feel that he is currently the best coach for this group. However, that does not mean that he is infallible. And there are a few items worth noting:
1. Drury's Place: Clearly a team player. Clearly the team Captain. Clearly established. Yet, not once has he had the security of knowing his position for more than a game or two nor has he known who his linemates would be. Is this a testament to his ability to adapt or just mis-use of a fine player? I would argue the latter.

2. Positive Prucha: He works hard. Comes into the lineup and scores. Then he's benched again. Are the Rangers showcasing Voros at the expense of Prucha? Or did Prucha insult Renney's mother? Something doesn't add up.

3. Too much #4: Renney has overused the fourth line plain and simple. I am not claiming that they are ineffective because they play an important role. But late in periods, after goals, etc. the line has come out and simply been overmatched and resulted in goals against. Think of the most recent Carolina game. Rangers get a two-goal lead, Renney puts the fourth line out. A few seconds later, goal against. The Rangers allow far too many goals on the immediate shift after scoring and that is due in large part to the use of the fourth line.

More after the B's game...
Errant Pucks: (A new feature with musings, rumblings and tidbits)

So Long Sammy: First we lost John Dellapina of the Daily News, now former Rangers beat writer Sam Weinman of LoHud is waving goodbye as he takes on ventures in the golf world. I know I speak for all bloggers when I say "thank you" as he was the most frequent and intriguing Rangers blogger over the past couple seasons.
The King: Henrik needs to get back to his throne, and worry less about his off-ice ventures. If he doesn't, his career will be as successful as another King. He of Graceland.
The Gravy Train: Tuesday marks the retirement of No. 9 to the Garden Rafters. Stay tuned for additional coverage...

An Unholy Union in Uniondale

It's that time again, Rangers v. Islanders and the odds are drastically tilted.

The Rangers are in the midst of relocating their early season form while the Islanders have already thrown in the 08'-09' towel and are banking on a Jon Tavares selection in the NHL Draft.

Yet, as we all know, none of this matters when these two teams hit the ice. The game becomes about heart, effort, and whichever team decides they dislike the other more.

How can we analyze the Rangers play of late? I think resurgent is a bit of a stretch, but could be applied to certain players.

Henrik Lundqvist can certainly make a case that he has been resurgent, with two shutouts in the last three starts. Yet, that only qualifies if we forget that clunker in Montreal.

Petr Prucha is definitely resurgent. With points in nearly every game since returning to the lineup, he has shown the heart and passion that made him so special his first season.

Also, don't discount the play of Wade Redden and Dmitri Kalinin. While their seasons have been sub-par, their last seven games have not. Both have shown a lot of confidence and have settled their games down considerably. They have also landed themselves in the plus column over the past few games.

Resurgency in the waiting? I would look toward Brandon Dubinsky and Nik Zherdev as they have gotten off the snide.

We have seen flashes of excellence in the power play and penalty killing and now we await , as Head Coach Tom Renney would call it, "traction." Can the Rangers sustain the solid efforts and improved special teams play?

With games coming against Chicago and Pittsburgh, they had better hope or they will continue to fall in the standings.

Regardless, we are getting to the point where the Rangers need to take two points from certain games. Tonight is one of them. There are no guarateed points in sight and the Rangers need to take advantage of teams that are clearly below them talent-wise.

Also, don't discount the effect of momentum and psyche. The Rangers could use some and this game would propel that.

Errant Pucks: (A new feature with musings, rumblings and tidbits)

Satanic Shanny: We knew that Martin Brodeur was a (the) Devil, but so is former Ranger Brendan Shanahan. Terms were not disclosed, but we can only wish him well. So long as it isn't against the Rangers.
Valient Vally: Valiquette has proven more valuable than any Rangers fan could have guessed before the season. His steady play and integral role in the locker room and bench have shown through brighter than your average backup.
All Stars: Lundqvist will go for the big show, but Dubinsky and Marc Staal will make appearances in the Young Guns game. You could make a case that Staal belongs in the big show as much as any other Ranger.