Archive for Lineup Changes
Per Steve Zipay, Derick Brassard will not play tonight with flu like symptoms. Kevin Klein will return to the lineup though, and was skating with Ryan McDonagh this morning. The new lines to account for Brassard’s absence:
The defense pairings remained the same. Safe to assume Girardi will play if he can go.
Chris Kreider returned to the ice during today’s practice, per Sean Hartnett. Kreider skated on a line with Kevin Hayes and Jesper Fast. Oscar Lindberg appeared to be the odd man out, as the other three lines remained the same from yesterday’s game. For those keeping score at home, that means Lindberg may be a scratch for Jayson Megna.
It’s safe to assume Kreider would go in for Etem if healthy. It’s also safe to assume one of McIlrath or Girardi will be out for tomorrow’s game.
I don’t know what McIlrath needs to do to earn his spot in the lineup. I thought he did with his play while Klein was out. But hey, what do I know?
The Rangers appear to be fully healthy today, as Kevin Klein, Dan Girardi, and Antti Raanta all returned to practice today. Klein has been out the longest with an abdominal injury, almost three weeks. Girardi missed a week with a knee injury. Raanta missed a week with what was likely a concussion. Klein’s injury really cost the Rangers, as he was their best defenseman before the injury.
Make of that what you will.
Per Andrew Gross, the lines for tonight’s game against Anaheim have been juggled again:
Let’s see how these lines fare.
Notes from Alain Vigneault this morning:
- Kevin Klein and Dan Girardi will remain out of the lineup. The Rangers miss Klein more than anyone right now. His presence really helps stabilize that right side.
- There is still no timetable for their returns.
- Oscar Lindberg will return tonight, one game after being a healthy scratch.
- No word on which forward will be scratched.
In case you missed it, both Derek Stepan and Kevin Klein are on the current road trip for the Rangers. Both will be promptly inserted back into the lineup in prominent roles upon their returns, and both will require some lineup maneuvering to ensure the best lineup is on the ice. That said, there will be a few difficult decisions to make when they do return.
Klein’s return is likely to be easier to manage, as the Rangers will likely return Brady Skjei to the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. It may not happen immediately with Dan Girardi still injured, and it may not be the best move for the defense given the decline of Girardi and Marc Staal, but it’s what will happen. While Girardi is out, I expect some kind of rotation between Skjei, Dylan McIlrath, and Dan Boyle.
On the heels of a disastrous trip to western Canada that represents the low point of a troubling first quarter, it appears the Blueshirts have reached an impasse wherein they are in danger of taking a clear step back in the contender pecking order. The growing warts in the lineup have deteriorated the team’s quality of play and the Rangers have come crashing down to earth where it appears they’ll stay unless changes are made.
The biggest issues are defenders Marc Staal and Dan Girardi, who for so long ably handled critical roles as stalwarts in the rearguard. But there are also team-wide problems including a less effective forecheck in part due to the loss of Carl Hagelin, frustrating mental mistakes defensively up and down the lineup and nonexistent production offensively from some of the team’s most talented players.