The Rangers return to the Rock tomorrow to face off against Fatso and the New Jersey Devils. The game, which starts at 7, will be on MSG-Plus for Doc and Chico, MSG 2 for Sam and Joe ... because regular MSG will be showing the Knicks - the team that is 10 games out of a playoff spot, the team that is 8-20 on the road, the team that went 0-18 for three against one of the worst teams in NBA history the other day - as they get blown out by San Antonio at 8:30.
Where We Are: Losers of three straight, stuck in the battle for eighth place. Luckily Atlanta and Tampa - the two teams behind us - both lost tonight but Boston, the current holders of eighth, grabbed a point from the Toronto Maple Leafs (losing 4-3 in OT).
Where They Are: Back home after a three game swing through San Jose, Calgary and Edmonton. After beating the tough Sharks, they sucked the suck against the two Canadian teams. Mmmmaaarrrtttyyyy couldn't stop a beach ball in the Saddledome and New Jersey made the Oilers look like a young, exciting, skillful team instead of the bottom dwelling, lottery-bound losers that they are. I called the Ranger effort lackluster at times in recent games - which it was - but the Devils must have stopped by San Francisco before leaving California and left their hearts there. Yeah, its a bad pun, so what? You know what I mean.
Who To Watch For: It is easy to say Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk but let's face it, it will probably be Rob Niedermayer or that minor leaguer David Clarkson. Jamie Langenbrunner and Hepatitis Elias step up their game when they go up against the Rangers and have always had the Blueshirts' number. Paul Martin is thankfully still out with injury.
What To Watch For: The quality of the ice, Rich Chere pointed out that it was awful today. What kind of effort the Devils have coming out of the gate - are they tired from their road swing or energized by anger at their terrible results? The officials enforcing the Avery Rules. Hank's focus; he has dominated Mmmmaaarrrtttyyyy in the past (16-3-5) but clearly has looked like a beaten dog after his stellar efforts of late have been for naught. His defenseman playing the body - Torts talks about having to look at tape after each game and he has to have seen how the blueline have been a bunch of stick waving wankers so maybe he has finally gotten the message through? Ok, I did say maybe.
What We'll (Hopefully) See: MSG West jeering Mmmmaaarrrtttyyyy. Avery vs. Mmmmaaarrrtttyyyy. Avery avoiding Clarkson. Marian Gaborik and Vinny Prospal finally showing up for work now that the Olympics are long over. Kovalchuk being the non-factor he has been in so many meetings with the Rangers - I particularly enjoy when he loses his temper and does something dumb. Jody Shelley vs. Andrew Peters. Brandon Prust not fighting the bigger, stronger Mark Fraser and instead finally converting one of the scoring chances that his hard work has earned him of late.
Also Check Out: The solid Fire & Ice, SBN's In Lou We Trust and Rich Chere's MSM blog.