Thursday, September 22, 2011

Marc Staal Visits Head Specialist, Richards Back On Ice

Some notes from practice today, courtesy of Andrew Gross: Brad Richards returned to practice today after sitting out the last two days with a pulled groin, and he is scheduled to play in tomorrow's preseason game against the Devils. Marc Staal, however, missed practice after skating yesterday because he had an appointment with a concussion specialist in New York City. The Rangers thought it was more important for Staal to go to his doctor's appointment, so he was excused from practice.

Click below to read more news and notes from practice today.

Meanwhile, the groupings at practice today was probably the closest indication so far of what the Rangers' lineup will look like come Opening Day. Brandon Prust (shoulder) and Marc Staal (head) obviously did not practice today and will not play against the Devils tomorrow.

Team 3
Wojtek Wolski-Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky-Artem Anisimov-Ryan Callahan
Ruslan Fedotenko-Brian Boyle-Brandon Prust
Mike Rupp-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello
Marc Staal-Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto-Steve Eminger
Ryan McDonagh-Mike Sauer
Henrik Lundqvist, Marty Biron

Team 2
Andrew Yogan-Shane McColgan-Andre Deveaux
Carl Hagelin-Erik Christensen-Christian Thomas
Sean Avery-John Mitchell-Dale Weise
Ryan Bourque-Kris Newbury-Chad Kolarik
Brendan Bell-Tomas Kundratek
Tim Erixon-Dylan McIlrath
Sam Klassen-Pavel Valentenko
Cam Talbot, Scott Stajcer

Team 1
Thomas Grant-Jonathan Audy-Marchessault-J.T. Miller
Jason Wilson-Kelsey Tessier-Andreas Thuresson
Matt Rust-Michael St. Croix-Scott Tanski
Chris McKelvie-Kale Kerbashian-Jordan Hickmott
Peter Ceresnak-Collin Bowman
Jyri Niemi-Jared Nightingale
Lee Baldwin-Stu Bickel/Samuel Noreau
Jason Missiaen, Chad Johnson

Andrew Gross speculates that Boyle, Stepan and Richards' lines will all play in Newark against the Devils tomorrow, so it seems as if Rangers fans will get a good look at a majority of the NHL roster tomorrow.

I'm not crazy about the Rupp-Stepan-Zuccarello line. I just think all of those players have different styles of play that I can't really see meshing well together, but we shall see. I'd personally like to see Rupp and Fedotenko swap spots in the lineup and substitute Avery for Zuke.

Tortorella still said, however, that he is considering all options for the first line LW spot, so nothing is set in stone yet. He specifically named Derek Stepan, Brian Boyle and Brandon Dubinsky as being considered to play on Gaborik and Richards' line.

I'm not surprised to see Erik Christensen playing on the second unit on the ice today, but I thought Torts would've given Avery a spot on Team 3 given how much he praised Avery and his line's play last night against the Devils.

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