Hey, remember me? Hopefully, the Ranger Rants audience has not gone elsewhere during my in-season vacation. That's the first time I've really had one of those and there are both positives and negatives that I'm sure nobody cares about. So I'll just say I'm back, albeit a few pounds heavier after some incredible holiday meals.
As for the news out of this morning's practice, Aaron Voros will sit tomorrow against the Devils with Petr Prucha rejoining the lineup, though coach Tom Renney would only cop to saying he was thinking about getting Prucha back in while not indicating who would be a healthy scratch.
Not exactly sure this is the be-all, end-all move to right whatever went wrong in the Rangers' brutal 5-4 overtime loss to the Capitals Tuesday. Both guys bring energy, Voros brings a little more bulk and can be more of a nuisance in front of the net. Theoretically, Prucha brings a bit more offensive potential but theory hasn't necessarily resulted in goals this season for the 26-year-old Czech. Prucha has one goal in 11 games this season while Voros has eight goals and six assists in 37 games. What will be interesting to see is how Brandon Dubinsky's game is affected. While Dubinsky has gone through plenty of line shuffling this season - and Renney acknowledges that may have something, perhaps a lot, to do with Dubinsky's reduced offensive production this season (that and not playing with Jaromir Jagr) - Voros has been a consistent on his wing since game No. 3.
The lines today:
Markus Naslund-Scott Gomez-Nikolai Zherdev
Nigel Dawes-Chris Drury-Ryan Callahan
Petr Prucha/Aaron Voros-Brandon Dubinsky-Lauri Korpikoski
Fredrik Sjostrom-Blair Betts-Colton Orr (reunited)
Defense pairings remain the same:
Paul Mara-Dmitri Kalinin
Michal Rozsival-Marc Staal
Dan Girardi-Wade Redden
Girardi, by the way, had a good showing in what was, at times, somewhat of a sloppy practice off a two-day break. The team spent a lot of time practicing the power play and while the Rangers, in general, seemed as reluctant to shoot at the MSG Training Center as they do at the Garden, Girardi roofed a couple of hard shots through traffic to beat Henrik Lundqvist.
Hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas and for those of us still celebrating Channukah (I love words it's impossible to misspell), well, continued Happy and Healthy Channukah.