Steve Zipay takes you inside the locker room, home and on the road, with the New York Rangers, and also writes about the NHL, off and on the ice.
August speculation: Lines and more lines...
Just spent the afternoon here in the chat and particularly on twitter.com/stevezipay discussing one of hockey fans' passions: Trying to configure/guess lines. As if we don't do this daily during the season!!!! Especially with this coach, who loves to shift things around.
But feel free to join us on Twitter---free, if you haven't--- to get ready for training camp, Traverse City and the season with news and observations and refs to here and elsewhere for longer material and analysis, as always. Things should be picking up next week.
A big part of the roster puzzle is the skilled, but wildly inconsistent Wojtek Wolski. According to many reports, the left winger has dedicated himself to training and improving this summer. There's no doubt that the way he played last season didn't make him a Torts favorite. In the last year of a $3.8 million contract, he has all the motivation ---along with a shot to play with Gaborik and Richards---to step it up, night after night. Can he?
If he does, Wolski would make the Rangers a far deeper team. It would allow Torts to keep an effective, familiar second line of Dubinsky-Ansimov-Callahan, rather than experiment with Dubi on the No. 1 line. If Wolski--and his attitude--- falters, Fedotenko could see time with Gaborik and Richards. Derek Stepan, who needs to seriously raise his 38 percent faceoff percentage, could be tried on left wing as he was last season.
So, ladies and gents, start your mixing and matching here as a rehersal for the season:
Remember, Step could move to left wing, Boyle can be a third line C, as could Rupp, some players could be traded for picks or prospects or demoted to the A... Have at it....Fortune favors the bold: Audentes Fortuna Iuvat.
Tomorrow: The D, with Tim Erixon and Michael Del Zotto and Steve Eminger as the probable 5,6,7, but consider Pavel Valentenko and Brendan Bell getting long looks...