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.


  1. I am a Zucc fan. I believe he would do very well in the NHL if the Rangers choose to let him go in the spring. He is gifted at finding players in the open while under pressure. He has the creativity with the puck that the Rangers have been lacking. If the Ranger organization doesn't give him a chance they will regret it.

  2. I agree, Zucc has a lot of creativity with the puck and has shown flashes of what he can do and why he was the MVP of the Swedish Elite League the year before the Rangers signed him. That being said, I think his lack of size has led to a lot of his inconsistencies when he's been up with the Rangers, and small players like him always have to overcome that to make it in this league. Marty St. Louis, for example, is a small guy who's gone onto have a fantastic career. But with players nowadays just being bigger than they were years ago, it's harder now more than ever to make it in the NHL when you're a little guy.

    I think at this point the Rangers want to figure out whether Zucc can be a top six or bottom six forward for them in the future.