Monday, February 4, 2008

The real Rangers? Or well timed mirage?

Updated: Dane Byers has been recalled from Hartford. Shanahan is out tomorrow, meaning Byers will play on the fourth line. Hollweg's suspension was a formality, as two game misconducts means and automatic suspension now. Valiquette also will not be starting tomorrow. Basically, half of this post is inaccurate now. Thanks Tom Renney.

Are these the real New York Rangers that we have had the pleasure of watching the last three game? A Rangers team that outplays Philadelphia, New Jersey and comes back from three goals down en route to scoring five unanswered goals is something that has been a rarity to see this season. Is it the real deal? Or are we in for a major let down tomorrow night against the Los Angeles Kings?

I don't have the answer to those questions, but I do know a few other things.

-- Ryan Hollweg was suspended for tomorrow night's game, as expected by everyone, including myself. As an advocate for clean play, I support the call. He was pissed, took another player into the boards dangerously and now gets to feel the consequences. As a player that toes the line between clean and dangerous, he can sometimes cross it. He needs to play with that fire still, no doubt about it, just make sure it's clean.

-- Hollweg being out means that Ryan Callahan definitely sticks around for another game. Brendan Shanahan has never been one to sit out much, so he'll most likely be back as long as he is physically able to. Callahan looked good, but not great last night and I'd like to see him back in there for some time.

-- Stephen Valiquette might get the nod tomorrow between the pipes. Makes sense, as the Rangers play a little tighter with him in net and it's a mediocre Kings team. Extra days off to keep Henrik Lundqvist healthy down the stretch isn't a bad thing either.

-- Congratulations to Chris Drury, who was named the NHL's third star of the week. Hopefully he continues his resurgent play.

The Rangers are back home tomorrow at 7. I'll check in again before then.

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