Archive for Lineup Changes
Much was made yesterday when news broke that Alain Vigneault would be scratching Pavel Buchnevich for a game, subbing in Matt Puempel. I’m actually glad I wasn’t around to peruse the Twitters yesterday, because I’m sure I would have lost my mind. I did see a few reactions, and I have to admit, it’s really not worth getting all worked up over this.
I understand that a lot of folks are sensitive to Vigneault’s lineup choices. The defense choices this year alone would make anyone cringe. I understand that last year scarred people for life, as Tanner Glass was routinely in the lineup over significantly more skilled forwards. I get it. But let’s also be clear that sitting a rookie for a game in the middle of a slump can be an educational tool.
The defense pairings remained the same.
With Jesper Fast and Marc Staal returning to the lineup tonight, coach Alain Vigneault has announced that Oscar Lindberg and Adam Clendening will be the healthy scratches. Antti Raanta is likely the backup tonight, as the Rangers have not recalled Magnus Hellberg.
Fresh off his two year contract extension, Vigneault has highlighted his main weakness, which is defensive evaluation. Clendening wasn’t perfect, but added an offensive flair to the back-end that the Rangers sorely needed. At this point, he’s no worse than Kevin Klein in the defensive zone, so adding puck moving is a critical need for this club.
In regards to the forwards, Lindberg was the likely odd-man out once the Rangers got healthy.
Here are your updates regarding the lineup for tonight’s game. Some of these came yesterday, so I’m a bit delayed:
- Mika Zibanejad will return tonight. Oscar Lindberg will be the healthy scratch. It was either him or Brandon Pirri. Since Pirri scored the other night, Lindberg was the logical choice.
- Marek Hrivik cleared waivers, and has been assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack. I’m not surprised he cleared, his baseline numbers weren’t sexy.
- Antti Raanta will be out for 7-10 days. Magnus Hellberg was called up, but expect Lundqvist to play all games during that span.
- Matt Puempel and Marc Staal skated, but will not play tonight.
After Antti Raanta pitched a shutout on Friday night in Chicago, Alain Vigneault is going to ride the hot hand and start Raanta tonight in New Jersey. Henrik Lundqvist, who has struggled to start the season, will be the backup for the second straight game. This will be the first time since 2013 that Lundqvist will be the healthy backup for two straight games.
Most people, like myself, have no problem with riding the hot hand. Raanta has been great, and Hank has not been comfortable in net. It’s perfectly fine to let him work on things and get comfortable. The major source of controversy is that the coaching staff seems to pick and choose accountability situations.
There is no goalie controversy in New York. Hank is still the starter and will carry the workload. Raanta is getting extra games while he is hot.
In his one game return, Clendening was solid if unspectacular, showing his skill at moving the puck. He also made a nice defensive play on Jack Eichel in the third, but then took a holding penalty.
This shouldn’t shock anyone. It’s going to take an injury to get Clendo in the lineup regularly. Let’s hope Klein’s game picks up.
Fans have been clamoring for Clendo to get into the lineup for a while. It’s no surprise that it’s for Klein either, who has been struggling mightily all season. Let’s see what the kid can do.
From practice yesterday, Matt Puempel will make his Rangers debut, playing on the fourth line with Josh Jooris and Jesper Fast. Oscar Lindberg will sit while the Rangers look at what they have in Puempel. As Josh wrote, there’s potential for this to be a steal, as Puempel was never really put in a position to succeed with the Senators, playing mostly with Chris Kelly and Chris Neil this year.
Here’s the full lineup for today:
A bit late on this, but the Rangers shuffled their lines yesterday at practice. Perhaps more important is they shuffled the defense pairings as well:
The forward lines will change all year, such is life in the NHL. However the shift in the defense pairings represents something slightly more important. Brady Skjei has been the Rangers second best defenseman this season, and has been moved to the top-four. Nick Holden –who has been pretty bad so far– and Kevin Klein –who has been sneaky bad so far– are now the bottom pairing.