GREENBURGH, N.Y. - There will be a few changes to the Rangers' lineup for today's pre-Olympic break finale against the visiting Lightning.
Marian Gaborik and Michael Del Zotto, both nursing nasty skate lacerations, will sit out. Corey Potter returned from Hartford to take Del Zotto's spot. Jody Shelley, the veteran acquired from the Sharks on Friday, will suit up, taking Donald Brashear's spot as the team's enforcer. No one can take Gaborik's spot, but that's what you get when your star scorer is sidelined.
The biggest change, at least the one that John Tortorella is looking for, might be that these Rangers finally understand what it means to stand up for themselves and one another.
Chris Drury's second-period fight with Penguins agitator Matt Cooke on Friday, and Michal Rozsival's subsequent misconduct for grabbing Cooke while Drury was on the ice and in a tough spot in the fight, are the types of things Tortorella wants to see, even though Rozsival's 10-minute misconduct left the Rangers with four defensemen for that span because Del Zotto already had been injured.
After Gaborik fought the Flyers' Daniel Carcillo a month ago and no Ranger stepped in to defend their star as he was losing that fight, Tortorella was pleased to see a change.
"It's just a proper way to play," he said after practice at the MSG Training Center. "We're trying to play the right way, not only with the X's and O's but in those type of situations.
"After the situation in Philly, we talked about it at that point in time, and I think the guys understand it. If you take an extra penalty or something like that, so be it. Those things need to be taken care of."
Rozsival, whose game has been much improved during the last couple of months, said it was more instinct than heeding his coach's words. "We have to stick up for each other," he said. "When something like that happens, you got to get involved. I think anybody on our team would do it; I was just closest. You don't want your best guys fighting. I know Chris can take care of himself, but you don't want anyone picking on your best guys."
That may be where Shelley comes in. A 10-year veteran with 1,310 penalty minutes under his belt, he will try to do what Brashear couldn't: play a few shifts capably and fight when called upon.
"It's a situation we still think we need, that type of role," Tortorella said. "It just didn't work out with Donald along the way here, for a number of different reasons. It was an opportunity for us to fill that type of role with our club."
Notes & quotes: The Rangers recalled G Steve Valiquette, who had to clear re-entry waivers. It's purely a paper transaction: The team must have two goaltenders on the roster during the Olympic break, so Valiquette was recalled in order for Matt Zaba and Chad Johnson to play for Hartford.