Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year - Same Opponent

A new decade begins for the New York Rangers - but it's a whole lot like the way the last decade ended.

Our next opponent? Same as our last opponent: the Carolina Hurricane - the worst team in hockey.This time we play at home - at the ungodly hour of 1pm Saturday.

John Tortorella is not really a X's and O's kind of hockey coach. He does motivate - and he tinkers with his lines all the time. But big strategic ideas - I think - he gets from his assistants. That's no knock on John - he smart enough to know what he's good at and when to get a little help.

And the word is - it was Tortorella's assistants that thought up the idea of moving Dubinsky back to wing on the top line and off of the Center position. The thinking was this: Dubi is not at his best when he tries to do Center-type stuff like (1) stickhandle the puck past opposing Centers or (e) guard opposing Centers. Dubinsky is great when he crashes the net and slams rebounds past the opposing netminder.

That doesn't mean Brandon can't take faceoffs. It just means he doesn't have to have the 2 way responsibilty or puck handling duties of a classic Center. So that's why Christensen was promoted to Line One. The result? Dubi doesn't commit any bonehead giveaways in the opening minute of play (or the next 59). And Dubi scores a goal. And Gaborik gets 2 assists. So the move is a success.

Of course the Hurricane are not the suddenly hot Philadelphia Flyers - so the 2-1 win Thursday is not a complete erasure of Wednesday's 6-0 humiliation. But it's way better than a second straight loss.

So 2010 begins with the same opponent - and the same woes we had back in 2009. We need to get Hank some rest. We need to see what Chad Johnson can do. We need our lines 2-4 to score some goals. We need our defense to be more consistant. We need to see more from Higgins, Koatalik, Lisin, Drury.... really I could just like the whole roster hear other than Gaborik.But - it's a new year - a new decade - and a chance for a fresh start.

Let's go Rangers

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