Sunday, September 16, 2007

Renney Mixing and Matching for Intriguing Line Combinations

Training camp was officially underway for the New York Rangers on Friday, and already we got our first glimpse of the dilemma of who plays center for the third line. In an intriguing, and completely unthought of by myself move, Tom Renney played Ryan Callahan at center on Friday, between Straka and Prucha. Straka has been known to have lost a step when it comes to taking faceoffs, so this move made a bit of sense to me. After a little research, I found that Callahan had a little, although not much, experience in junior days as a center. This line combo could work, as Callahan is a hard checker, and has shown glimpses of decent defensive ability on the ice. It is also possible that Renney just uses Callahan as a faceoff man, and then Straka moves over to the center position and Callahan back to his natural right wing position once the puck is controlled. This move made the second line of Drury centering Avery and Shanahan and the first line of Gomez centering Jagr and Hossa. Rounding out the lines was the fourth line of Betts centering Orr and Hollweg. According to sources with much more knowledge than myself, the chemistry between Gomez and Jagr was very strong, as was the chemistry with the other three. The lines were jumbled for Saturday, and it is still early in camp, but how do these lines sound to everyone else? I personally wouldn't mind seeing them in a game situation. Hopefully we see it when the first preseason game comes around.

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