Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sean Avery makes his Ranger return tonight against Ottawa

The Rangers will be provided with a much needed spark tonight as Sean Avery makes his return to Broadway. His presence will undoubtedly provide the Rangers with elements that they have been lacking over the last four weeks during Avery's absence.

The only problem with Avery's return is that is creates a logjam, and there will definately be a healthy scratch. As of this writing (3:45 pm) Tom Renney was leaning towards scratching Petr Prucha. With Prucha scratched, Nigel Dawes would drop down to the third line with Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan and Avery would take Dawes' spot on the second line. The first and fourth lines will remain intact.

Another healthy scratch for tonight will be Paul Mara. Marek Malik will make his return to the lineup alongside Jason Strudwick, leaving the Michal Rozsival - Marc Staal combination in place. There are plenty of defensive holes in that pairing, which makes me wonder why Renney picked tonight's game to try it out. I understand Malik makes over 3 million a year, but if the defense is better with him on the bench, why change things up?

Should be interesting to see if Avery makes a difference, Prucha rebounds from his scratch to finally break out offensively and if the defense holds up with Malik back. Wonder how hard the Garden crowd will start to boo should he make a mistake tonight.

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