Monday, March 12, 2012
Del Zotto, Callahan Miss Practice; New Forward Lines
Coming off last night's thrilling 4-3 overtime victory against the Islanders to snap a season-long four game losing streak, the Rangers were back on the ice at practice tonight with new line combinations. Michael Del Zotto (right hip) and Ryan Callahan (right foot) both missed practice, and I would assume both will be out for tomorrow night's game against Carolina.
Here were the lines from practice today:
Carl Hagelin-Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik
Artem Anisimov-Derek Stepan-Brandon Dubinsky
Ruslan Fedotenko-Brian Boyle-Brandon Prust
Mike Rupp-John Mitchell-Mats Zuccarello/John Scott
Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Marc Staal-Stu Bickel
Steve Eminger-Anton Stralman
John Tortorella confirmed that Mats Zuccarello will likely remain in the lineup tomorrow, and I'm assuming Zucc is here to stay for a while after last night's game. Torts said he wants to give Zuccarello more time on even strength in the future, which again hints towards the fact that Zucc will likely be sticking around. Last night, Zuccarello finished with 10:40 of ice time, and 6:34 of it came on the power play. He's earned the right to get a long look in the lineup and on the power play. I've never been the biggest Zuccarello fan, but I think it's time to finally see what this kid can do at the NHL level. Zucc will be a free agent this offseason and the Rangers need to figure out what they have in him and whether or not he's in their future plans.
When Ryan Callahan rejoins the lineup (hopefully sooner rather than later), I think that John Mitchell will be the odd man out of the lineup. He really hasn't done anything productive in a while and I don't think the Rangers would lose anything by removing him from the lineup. Plus, I'm also just really sick of seeing him out there on the power play.
Also, I'm guessing Henrik Lundqvist will be back in goal tomorrow night. Even though he's looked mediocre at best the past five games or so, the only way he's going to get through this funk is by playing through it. Hank usually has these funks that last two weeks or so every year and then he's back to normal. I'd rather have him get it out of the way now and be fine come the playoffs.