Friday, November 27, 2009

Tweaked Arm? Redden Out (Yay) as Rangers Face Tampa

Well, that sure clears things up. Wade Redden revealed exactly what his undisclosed upper body injury is:
It kind of got extended,” the hilariously over-paid former All Star defenseman told reporters, “My arm was kind of in front of me and got tweaked,”

So, from the folks that brought you Gaborik's Tweaked Groin, the Rangers bring you Redden's Tweaked Arm. We're thinking it could be about a week before Wade returns to 100%. (But then again – that's 100% of Wade Redden, so, really, what's the rush? (I hate to be negative the day after Thanksgiving – but maybe Slats can talk to Wade and convince him that he has a season ending injury – for the good of the team?)

But who can the Rangers add to the roster to replace Wade's production? Let's see now – he contributed 1 goal and – on a team that has a plus minus of +8 he has a plus minus of, uh, zero. Okay then, maybe we can replace his stats, but we do need a body. And Tortorella has selected from our Hartford affiliate defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti. You may remember Bobby from training camp – he's the guy who looked like he was dying during the endurance skating session. Hopefully Sanguinetti has learned from that experience and will be in NHL condition tonight.

On the good news front – Cannon Kotalik seems to be recovering from his undisclosed upper body injury. He skated Thursday with the team and could be in the lineup tonight. I think we missed his slapshot in Florida – especially on the powerplay.

Anyway – Happy Turkey Hangover Day, my fellow Blueshirt Brothers – and here's the preview:

Who The Hell Are We Playing? The Rangers Road Show moves over to Tampa Bay Florida tonight, as our heroes take their fragile two game win streak to our Coach's former team the Lightning. Tortorella coached 7 years here, winning the Stanley cup in 2004, so it should be an interesting homecoming for him.

The Lightning are in 10th place in the East at 9-6-7, two points behind the Rangers with 2 games at hand. So if we don't beat them – they'll pass us in the standings. They have lost 3 of their last 4 games including a 4-3 loss to Toronto earlier this week.

Primary Skaters: 15 goals for two players on the Lightning: Left Wing Ryan Malone and Center Steven Stamkos. And 20 assists for Right Winger Martin St. Louis (who should be playing for the Blues).

In Net: Tampa has a real 2 goalie operation going on. Antero Niittymaki in 12 games is 6-2 with a 2.19 GAA average and a .932 Save percentage. And Mike Smith in 11 games is 3-4 with a 3.37 GAA and a .886%. I hope we get Smith tonight.

Scoring & Defense: The Lightning score 2.68 goals a game. We're better at 3.08. And the Lightning allow 3.05 goals a game to our 2.75. So on paper, we've been better.

Special Effects: Tampa has the league's 22nd best PP with a 18.2% score rate. We're 8th best at 22.3%. And – YES – the Rangers have the NHL's best at 85.6%. Tampa is 25th best at 77.4%. So we need to exploit this advantage.

Scheduling Conflicts: Both teams played Wednesday and both play again tomorrow. So about even in the tiredness department.

Probable Lines: Just guessing here – but the top line will likely stay at Gabs, Prospal, and Higgins. I'd love to see Sean here – but that's just me.

The other lines – after not scoring last game – are likely to get shuffled yet again by Tortorella. And I'm not sure if Kotalik returns and what impact that has on the lines. So we'll have to see.
There's always movement here. Word on the street is that Dubinsky will rejoin the Gaborik-Prospal line.

Back On D: Finally a different 6 with Bobby S. in and Wade out. Some pairing issues here with 4 righties and two lefties – we'll see what Torts does.

Fronting The Twine: Tortorella has a real Big Think ahead. The Rangers play tonight and tomorrow. You might want to rest Lundqvist here and have him ready for the Penguins tomorrow. But Tortorella won the Cup coaching Tampa – he has history and friends here. He's going to want his team to look good. So what would you do - and what do you think he'll do? I'd rest Hank tonight and of Torts does that I will be impressed.

Dave Puck Predicts: My last prediction was a Shoot out win and we got one (not at the score I said – but why are you picking on me?) So this I say – the Rangers score 4 goals. If Hank starts we win 4-2. If Steve V starts – we win a Shoot Out 5-4.

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