Monday, November 14, 2011
Rangers Unveil New Lines at Practice
John Tortorella broke out some new forward line combinations at practice today that will presumably be the lines we'll see tomorrow night when the Rangers take on the Islanders on the Island. The lines the Rangers used at practice today actually were actually the same ones they ended their last game with on Friday night.
Here are the lines Torts rolled with:
Click below to read more news and notes from practice today.
John Tortorella also repeated today that he sees Brandon Dubinsky's future on the Rangers as a left wing and not a center. Even though Torts has said time and time again that Dubinsky's future here is playing on the left wing, he has occasionally moved Dubinsky back to center a few times over the past few years (including, most recently, the first two periods of Friday's game against Carolina) when he's struggled offensively and the Rangers were looking for something to spark his play. It proved to work on Friday, when Dubinsky finally scored his first goal of the season after he was shifted back to the left wing in the third period with Brian Boyle and Ryan Callahan on his line.
Also worth noting is the fact that Sean Avery has moved up to Brad Richards' line after he played possibly his best game within the last two years against the Hurricanes. Avery recorded a beautiful goal and was making things happen all night long whenever he was on the ice. Being a long-time Avery supporter, I'm glad that John Tortorella has given Sean a fair shot at moving up in the lineup. We've seen Torts put an extremely short leash on Avery in the past, though, only to quickly demote Avery back to the fourth line or the press box, but hopefully this time he'll give Avery a few games to develop some chemistry with Brad Richards. Richards and Avery are friends off the ice and know each other from their time playing in Dallas together. Richards has also praised Avery's play when his game is going right in the past, so maybe they can develop some chemistry with each other on the ice.
John Tortorella also said after practice today that Anton Stralman is not quite ready to make his Rangers debut just yet. Stralman is still getting familiar with the Rangers' system and his conditioning isn't up to Torts' standards after being with the team for only a week so far. The Rangers have also discussed the possibility of sending Stralman on a conditioning stint with the Connecticut Whale, but Stralman would need to agree to that for the Rangers to send him there. I certainly don't think he would be opposed to doing whatever it takes to get him into the lineup sooner. The fact of the matter is that the third defensive pairing of Steve Eminger-Jeff Woywitka has been playing much better recently and it doesn't make sense to tinker with the lineup anyway until something goes wrong.