The Rangers are off for five straight days so I figured I would fill the Midwinter Break with some random stuff. I may put out my 2010 -2 Team Canada roster and an analysis of the trades that have gone down (Ottawa did well). But I will start with a look at the Blueshirts:
I was recently jousting with a diligent reader who hates my opinions - which is kinda familiar to me as the season ticket holder next to me at the Garden hates the Rangers - and he presented a Rangers roster that he thought that I wanted to see. While amusing and utterly illogical, it did get me thinking to what lines I would like to see while keeping a foot in reality.
Now, right off the bat, I know you are going to point out that Jagr is on the third line, but why not? He has been a shadow of himself and if Renney rotated the lines fairly, Jagr would still get 14 minutes or so. By moving him down, he would be away from the opponent's top checking lines and perhaps get the room he needs to regain his scoring touch. I put Hossa in on the far wing with him as the two did have some chemistry once upon a time.
As for the top two lines, Dawes can play with the same speed and tempo that Gomez loves while the Little Leaguer is showing a willingness to work the paint. Avery opposite Cally would infuriate the opposition while playing an abrasive style of North American hockey that would be complimented by Dubi's size and puck moving skills. Hours after posting this, right as I was about to go to sleep I realized that I forgot Shanny. I guess you gotta pull Cally for him, but that is certainly a tough call as the kid's speed is such a good weapon. I know, I know, its Shanny, but his amazing wrister and his experience is unfortunately countered by his ever-growing lack of mobility. I guess we just gotta hope that his knee heals well and this break puts a little jump back in his step ...
I did take out Ryan Hollweg, but I would keep him around as a healthy scratch. He works hard and does good things but his bad reputation is just too big of a risk to keep in the lineup every night. Byers is a good, big, checking forward and would be good working alongside Bettsy. Prucha is also out as I am hoping he will be dealt (sorry). He is young enough to garner interest and, packeged with a high draft pick, could be seen as enough of a commodity to land a Barrett Jackman or even a Dan Boyle.
That brings me to the defense, which I wouldn't change much:
Again, I dropped the Euros down. Rozy has been pressured all season by the opposition's top lines and it has proved costly time after time. Malik is back, if only to boo, I mean shop, him. Girardi and Toots have really been a shadow of themselves of late but this being Girardi's first full season, he may have been wearing down. These five days should do the trick to rejuvinate him. Staal has been fantastic and has done some of his best work this year with Strudwick alongside him. Struds gives him more freedom to carry the puck, which has been one of his most underrated and underused skills.
As for goal ... well Hank is still the starter but it should be a platoon with Vally getting one in every three starts. He has proved he can play and has earned more than the occasional start.
So that is what I want to see, what do you want? What do you think Renney will do? You tell me, that's what the comments are for!!
One last thing: best wishes to Richard Zednik. He is resting and stable but that was one scary play.