Gotta be Richards’ absence. Flu fells him for third consecutive day. Lost hours to mesh with Rick Nash. Not worried about his condition: Richie’s been active all summer and fall. It’s the timing. One reason to keep him away is not to infect mates. He should be back on ice Thursday, Friday. Team’s not on-ice Wednesday. Watching video from last season.
Henrik Lundqvist was getting pucks blown past him early, then was a wall. Callahan whipped a few high. Later, Staal and Pyatt were absolutely shut down on rebounds in front, rolling eyeballs skyward, as Lundqvist’s reflexes rebounded. I definitely expect to see Lundqvist starting both games on the weekend; will have couple days off afterward.
Brian Boyle among the most animated after missing passes or shots in the one-off practice (no second session), slamming stick on the ice and shouting a few times. Also, have to agree on Torts’ assessment of Del Zotto. Looks determined, fast. And Torts drew some laughs when a TV reporter asked if he was going to limit McDonagh and Girardi’s time to conserve their energy. “No…I’m going to play the hell outta them.”
Have not seen any PP practice, probably because point-man Richards not available. May need that to match potential scoring from B’s and Pens’ 5 on 4 lineups, which on paper, are pretty awesome.
The Missing Players. Without Richards, you can see how the Blueshirts could use another center. I always was, and still am, in favor of the Nash trade, (think he will be terrific in the East) but you can see the value of Anismov and Dubinsky on days like this. The top five D are very, very solid, so Tim Erixon not much of a loss right now. And even Torts said today that no single player will replace what Brandon Prust brought either. As far as depth, lot riding early on Pyatt, Asham, Halpern.