Artem Anisimov scored 12 goals and dished out 16 assists last season, his first in the NHL, and bigger numbers were expecetd from the 22-year-old Russian center.
But with just one goal in the last 14 games, Anisimov isn't providing enough offense to satisfy coach John Tortorella, who moved him to the fourth line but restored him to a spot between Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan, where he had success early in the year.
"Artie’s struggling," Tortorella said today. "He’s going to get an opportunity again with Cally and Dubi and Cally to start the game, but it’s just not there. I thought he made some good defensive plays in the last game, that’s why I put him in that situation. I had two lines ready to go at the end: Artie, Dubie and Cally, and Boyle, Pruster and Fedotenko, but I’m not sure if he stays there. I’m trying to get him going, trying to get him back into it. I played him 9 minutes, the game before he had 12. He knows it too, I spoke with him, he wants to get going. I want to see his legs move, it’s very similar to Step when he’s not around the puck offensively.
So we’ll give him an opportunity because I think he’s a big part of our team. I don’t want to lose him, but I have to worry about that particular game, especially in the offensive situations….because he’ll play well defensively. It’s just in the offensive situations he hasn’t been around the puck enough."……
Defense, insisted Tortorella, isn't an issue, "because of his intelligence. He’s a very smart player, like Step, his positioning is really good, but it’s still not enough in a 60-minute game, I’m anxious to see how he starts tonight, if not, I may switch him again."
Steve Mason (8-8-1, 3.08) faces Henrik Lundqvist, who will make his fourth consecutive start and eighth in the last nine. Bit of a surprise. Thought Martin Biron would play here and Lundqvist tomorrow night at home against the Caps. Now, I'm not sure who'll start tomorrow. What we do know is that Steve Eminger (lower back), who tested it in the optional this morning at Nationwide Arena, cannot push off and is scratched. Michael Del Zotto is back in after sitting out the game in Ottawa. Unclear whether Eminger can play tomorrow; Tortorella called him "day-to-day." Todd White also will be in for Derek Boogaard. Tortorella said he did not have an update on the examination of Boogaard's sprained---or worse---right shoulder.
Chris Drury and Vinny Prospal skated and stayed on the ice afterward for conditioning and shooting on Biron. Prospal can shoot hard; Drury, not so much.
So the lines & d-pairs, apparently, to start:
Next up, a quick report/update on Mats Zuccarello. Hint: Torts says he's not quite ready yet