According to Rick Carpiniello at http://rangers.lohudblogs.com, here are the new line combinations that Tom Renney used in practice:
Chris Drury-Scott Gomez-Markus Naslund
Fredrik Sjostrom-Nigel Dawes-Lauri Korpikoski
Ryan Callahan-Brandon Dubinsky-Nikolai Zherdev
Colton Orr-Blair Betts-Aaron Voros
I can understand a few of these moves. Drury, Gomez and Naslund is a reunion of a line that clicked for a little bit in pre-season, and in the first few games in the Czech Republic.
Maybe Renney thinks that three guys that are invisible for large portions of the time...can reunite and actually show up together? If only one of those three guys played hard and scored consistently, it'd be a start.
It makes me happy to see Freddy Sjostrom on the second line, playing with Dawes and Korp. It's about time. He's one of the unheralded players on this team.
Our penalty kill would certainly be a lot worse without him. I've thought highly of his offensive potential as well.
Korpikoski, although his numbers might not show it, he shows up consistently as well. However, as much of a Dawes fan as I have been in the past...the kid's done nothing the past few weeks. Scratch.
Cally, Dubinsky, and Zherdev should be a solid line, with Dub and Cally crashing, and Zherdev deking. That's three guys who certainly could mold into a future No. 1 or No. 2 unit.
Orr, Betts and Voros is a decent fourth line. Voros is still somewhat on the outs with me...billed as a guy who crashes the net and causes havoc...he's still barely doing either. Can't complain about the play this year of Betts and Orr, however.
As per the title of this article... I'm still having a hard time believing that Petr Prucha is not in this lineup. I'd drop Dawes in a heartbeat for Prucha. I'd even put Sjostrom back on the fourth line, scratch Voros, and insert Prucha. The guy has to play!
He brings two things that were clearly missing from our 10-2 drubbing: energy and enthusiasm.
One of the bigger surprises this year was the decent play coming from Toronto. NO ONE expected them to do anything...and the reason they have proven people wrong? Ron Wilson.
The guy came in and announced that the old habits were over. He made highly paid guys like Jason Blake into press box spectators when they didn't come to play. Prucha has shown not only that he'll accept this abuse from Renney...but play hard when given a glimmer of hope.
Does Scott Gomez play his heart out every night? Not a chance. Plenty of nights go by where the aforementioned Dawes and Voros are invisible as well, but yet they're barely in the Press Box.
Until Renney holds players accountable...ALL PLAYERS...then this team cannot move forward and be successful. A Mike Keenan-like message has to be sent out; play hard, and you'll play. Play soft and you'll sit.
Prucha remains in the doghouse for unknown reasons. Until accountability comes back into our Ranger culture... we'll look more like a basement team, for very known reasons.
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