Not me, the Blueshirts, although Texas drivers are tailgate-happy. So I was looking at the sign for a Jerry Lee Lewis concert in February and the taquerita near the exit ramp. Big deal. No way to treat a Yankee, is it?
Anyway, Nursing a pulled rib muscle, veteran defenseman Michal Rozsival was not on the ice at practice at the Dr. Pepper Star Center, a public facility about 15 miles north of downtown Dallas here in Farmers Branch.
Neither was Brandon Prust, who needed treatment on his left shoulder, which was tweaked in his bout with Troy Bodie in the Rangers 2-1 overtime win against the Hurricanes on Wednesday. And Ruslan Fedotenko’s hand, struck by Brian McCabe’s slap shot over the weekend, was still sore.
The depth of these banged-up Rangers, already missing Ryan Callahan, Erik Christensen, Vinny Prospal and Derek Boogaard, will surely be tested tonight in yet another set of back-to-back games, starting tonight at American Airlines Arena against the Stars, followed by Saturday night’s visit to St. Louis.
“This is a tough trip starting with Dallas,” coach John Tortorella said after a practice designed to shake out the cobwebs. “they’re a good team and have been consistent all the way through"
The Stars, 24-13-4 in the more competitive Western Conference, are more than good, and more than just Sean Avery’s old team, a brief mismatch that deteriorated so long ago, on Nov. 30, 2008, when Avery played his last game here, a 4-3 win against the Oilers, a game in which he scored a goal. The inappropriate “sloppy” remark came two days later, and the suspension and anger management seems like ancient history. Most of the current Rangers weren’t even in New York when the dam broke.
Of greater concern are two things: the injury bug and scoring; should Rozsival not be able to play tonight against a team that the Rangers haven’t beaten here since 2006, including a 10-2 crusher in November 2009, rookie Ryan McDonagh will make his NHL debut.
Rozsival, who bruised the ribs against the Panthers and twisted the muscle again in the second period Wednesday in a second-period battle along the boards, said he would test his mobility on the ice tommorow morning. Tortorella, however, said he believed both he and Prust would dress.
A few more goals wouldn’t hurt. In the last four games, the Rangers have six goals in regulation, one an empty-netter. The power play is 2-for-20, and both goals came in the 7-2 battering of the Islanders on Dec. 27.
“We just have to stick with it,” said Tortorella. “We have to stay within ourselves and play the game that we feel we have to play to be successful.”
Brad Richards, who would be an answer to the Rangers No. 1 center issue, ranks sixth in the NHL in scoring with 47 points (18 goals, 29 assists). The duo of Richards and Loui Eriksson (87 points) are behind only the Sedins (99 points) as the most prodcutive hockey twosome int he West....Stars are 10-2-0 record vs the East, and are 27-of-the last 28 on the PK against the East.