Erik Christensen Back in Lineup for New York Rangers

Rangers TribuneContributor IJanuary 29, 2010

BOSTON - JANUARY 09:  Erik Christensen #26 of the New York Rangers heads for the net as Blake Wheeler #26 of the Boston Bruins defends on January 9, 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Rangers defeated the Bruins 3-1.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Andrew Gross is reporting on that forward Erik Christensen will return to the lineup tomorrow night against the Phoenix Coyotes.

The 26-year-old waiver wire acquisition was skating on a second line comprised of Chris Drury and Brandon Dubinsky in practice today, meaning the first and third lines will remain unchanged despite a rather quiet performance on Wednesday against the Hurricanes.

                                                                          (Image courtesy of AP Photo)

Sean Avery, Ales Kotalik, Donald Brashear, Brian Boyle, and Aaron Voros were all sharing spots on the fourth line. Obviously, two of the five will get the boot come Saturday's tilt with the ‘Yotes.

I find it odd that head coach John Tortorella has elected to put Drury, Christensen, and Dubinsky together on the same line, as all three are natural centers, but can also play the wing. You would think they would be split up, but then again how often has Tortorella been predictable with his line combinations this season?

While Erik was producing when he was first brought to New York, his scoring has declined drastically as of late, and that has led to him being a healthy scratch often over the course of the past few weeks. Christensen has three goals and five assists in 30 games played this season.

No matter what changes Torts makes, no matter which players are playing with who, this team still cannot score. Like always, this minor adjustment will have a minimal, or no impact in tomorrow's game in Phoenix, and if it surprisingly does, don't count on it lasting very long.

If you recall, immediately after Christensen's first game on a line with Marian Gaborik, in which he had a goal and an assist, I predicted that he would fade off as time went on and that the combination would not last. Well, here you go.

Meanwhile, after being benched on Wednesday at Madison Square, defenseman Wade Redden will be right back at it in tomorrow night's contest. The veteran blue-liner had a lengthy conversation with coach Tortorella at the conclusion of practice, but apparently it was not as heated as their previous one out on the Island.

I still do not agree with the Redden benching the other night, because it felt as if he was being used as a scapegoat. There were many other players that could have rode the pine over Redden for their poor play in that game.