A few quick notes before tonight's game:
Sean Avery will be a healthy scratch again tonight. (Ranger Rants) Said it once I'll say it again: I see no reason for Sean Avery to be in the lineup at this point.
One last thing on Avery, which has been talked about here already, but I'll mention it again. People who don't follow the Rangers who have been comparing Sean Avery to Matt Cooke, I can only say this: Stop watching Twitter and start watching games. The comparison is stupid.
No definitive word on Marc Staal, but it looks like he isn't playing. The organization and head coach are on "information lockdown" on this one (from yesterday's Blueshirts Blog):
Marc Staal did not practice today, and that is all anyone knows right now about the Rangers’ All-Star defenseman. Anyone, that is, outside the Rangers organization – and they’re not saying. Leading the way in the not saying department is John Tortorella, who revised his stretch run disclosure policy today, removing the "body" from the "body injury" he said Staal was dealing with yesterday.
Now, Staal is just "injured," and it does not appear that he will be ready to play tomorrow night against the Florida Panthers. Nor is there the slightest hint of when he might be able to return.
From the Rangers:
The Rangers will face-off against the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), to begin a two-game homestand. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and seventh in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 39-30-4 (82 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 5-2, on Sunday at CONSOL Energy Center to extend their season-high winning streak to four games, and are now 6-1-0 in their last seven contests. The Panthers enter the contest with a 29-33-10 (68 pts) record to rank 13th in the Eastern Conference, and have registered at least one point in four of their last six games (3-2-1). Following the contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, Mar. 24, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), to close out their two-game homestand.
A nice story on Melissa DiMataris, who will kick things off tonight by singing the National Anthem. She's a 20 year old girl undergoing treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. A Blueshirt Banter stick salute for Melissa, we wish her all the best, both tonight and in her recovery.