Obviously being a day and a half before the game there is nothing set in stone about the reports coming from practice about lines or tomorrow's roster, but it is a relatively slow news day otherwise so we might as well discuss what we have seen today.
Lines in practice were as follows (via Andrew Gross)
Frolov - Christensen- Gaborik
Kennedy - Anisimov- Callahan
Announced D-Pairs for Tonight
For other reports from the beat writers as well as thoughts on these lines join me after the jump.
Nothing's set in stone for tomorrow night's #NYRangers game vs. Red Wings but it looks like Dubinsky-Prospal-Boyle combo will not dress.
#NYRangers coach John Tortorella: Mats Zuccarello knows he has a "lot to learn" about North American game. Handled exit interview great.
John Tortorella says #NYR likely to start season carrying a full 23-man roster.
Let me deal with the assumed non-participants tomorrow first as I am a little surprised Vinny is sitting again, but his roster spot is secure and this gives the staff another game to look at White, Stepan, Fedetenko, Kennedy.
Now onto the lines that are projected here if they stay the same as in practice today.
- We all knew that EC was going to get every shot in the world to win the spot between Frolov and Gaborik, so this playing out this way is not at all unexpected. We can all debate the merits of the move and opinions will vary from those who think he can handle it to those who think he belongs at the Target down the street.
- I like putting Callahan and Anisimov together as they showed some chemistry in the 3rd period in NJ. I wish Dubi was lining up on the other wing to see what that line could do, but I also like them giving Kennedy a shot to solidify his spot on the club even if he would probably never play there during the regular year. We have talked about it before and many seem to agree that Kennedy is a great fit for the 13th forward role.
- Aves and Fedetenko could be a good combination of wings but for me that is a line better centered by a Drury or Prospal than Stepan. I think in many ways this move is done by the coaching staff to see if Stepan can have an impact in the game not being with Frolov and Gaborik so if he wants to make the club this game is very important to him. I havent seen much chemistry from him with any of the other wingers he has been out there with in his two games. He is playing with two guys who are very hungry this preseason so that should certainly help because Aves has been very good and Fedetenko is trying to lock down a spot and contract.On a development note, in my opinion, if Stepan is going to play 3rd line minutes, anything other than top 6 minutes, he should spend most if not all the year down in Hartford playing top line minutes, getting used to the pro game and the longer season.
- The Dubinsky-Prospal-Boyle has no interest to me and I am hoping it was just a line put together for practice knowing those 3 were the likely scratches tomorrow. Dubinsky and Prospal as 2/3rds of a line is something I could get behind as they showed some chemistry last year, but I dont ever want to see Boyle anywhere above the 4th line and as well as he played in the 1st game I am still not convinced he has a lock on a roster spot.
- Really not much to say about Booger-White and Prust other than if this is where Todd White stays the whole game than I would suspect his chances of making the team are very slim. I understand he has shown offensive skill in the past but they are not going to keep him around at 2.375 million just in case a 3rd line center goes down when they could keep a guy like kennedy or boyle who are 10 years younger and 1/4 of the price.
- Only news I have seen so far about D for tomorrow is both Sauer and Valentenko will dress as well as the report the other day that Rozi was in for the last 3 games. Will add if news comes out.
- Torts saying we are going 23 is basically what most of had been anticipating i think. That means the 2 goalies which are set, 7 D, and 14 forwards. That means we have 2 forwards, 2 D to cut. As of right now my money is on White, Stepan, Sauer and Valentenko. Stepan could shine tomorrow and obviously change that leaving Boyle/Fedetenko on the outside. Other things to consider is if Dru is on IR to start the year it could mean 1 less forward cut until return. Additionally it would be strange to not play Boyle and yet cut him if they go all the way to 23 after tomorrow.
- Only thing to really add about the D pairs is the talk is of cuts coming as soon as after tonight's game yet McD and Eminger are not playing. Leads you to believe they both might be relatively safe, though Eminger is being held out because of his groin.