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Posts tagged: Enver Lisin

Anisimov In, Lisin Out

It looks like Artem Anisimov isn’t feeling any lingering effects from the Matt Cooke cheapshot, as he will be playing tonight in the back-end of the home-and-home.

Enver Lisin, on the other hand, will be a healthy scratch tonight. He played a total of 0:0 in Saturday night’s abomination of a game, and you have to assume that broken foot is really bothering him.

Rangers Won The Korpikoski-Lisin Trade

When the Rangers traded Lauri “Korpdeo” Korpikoski for Enver Lisin, I think a bunch of fans were shocked. First, who’s Enver Lisin? And second of all, Korpikoski was turning in to a solid player.  Here was Dave’s reaction when the deal went down. I was not writing for BSB at the time, but if I was, I would not have liked the deal. I was beginning to love the Korpedo. Great penalty killer, responsible defensively. He has offensive skills, even if they weren’t showing yet. I thought he would be a Ranger for a long time. Instead, he was traded to the Southwest Rangers Coyotes.

Well, fast forward a couple of months. Enver Lisin is getting consistent top-line duty, and his 3 goals and 5 assists have come even while playing a significant amount of the year on the 3rd or 4th line. He’s -1, which is not great, but I tend not to place too much importance on plus/minus. How is the Korpedo doing? Well, not so good. Through 13 games, Korpikoski has zero points. Zero. In 13 games, he’s had 7 shots on goal. 7.  While the ‘Yotes have cooled off after a hot start, it’s a talented team. Korpedo is having trouble getting on the ice.

Lisin is a work in progress defensively–he’ll never be a penalty killer–but right now, that’s okay. He has plenty of speed, and uses it to create offensive chances. While he’s benefited from playing with Prospal and Gaborik, it’s clear that Lisin is a much better player than Korpikoski. And so, the Rangers won another trade. And we say Sather is inept.

Drury Out, Lundqvist “Maybe”

The injury news for the Rangers is not good. Already out is Brandon Dubinsky, who will be gone at least three weeks with his broken hand. Andrew Gross is reporting that also out is Chris Drury, as the Rangers are taking the safe route with his concussion, as they should. Henrik Lundqvist is a maybe, as his wonky groin (looks like us fans were worried about the wrong groin) may keep him out of action for tomorrow’s game. Enver Lisin is going to play, even though he broke his left foot. Having trouble keeping up?

This is just terrible news for the Rangers. Losing one of Dubinsky or Drury is tough, because the Rangers aren’t that deep of a team, but losing both is going to take its toll on the team. Lisin’s foot is troublesome, but not overly concerning, as he will be playing through it. The worst news here is Lundqvist, as the Rangers can ill afford to have him out for a while. As much as the Rangers will depend on Marian Gaborik to carry the team, if Lundqvist goes down long term, we are looking at a lottery pick.

The lines, as per Gross, for tomorrow:

Speaking of lines, here’s what the Rangers showed today:
Lisin-Vinny Prospal-Marian Gaborik
Christopher Higgins-Artem Anisimov-Ales Kotalik
Sean Avery-Brian Boyle-Ryan Callahan
Donald Brashear, Aaron Voros, Dane Byers.

There are commas instead of hyphens with the fourth-liners because none of them are likely to play center. Instead, if Tortorella decides to use his fourth line for the occasional shift, he’ll most likely double shift one of his three centers.

The defense pairings, as usual, remain the same:
Matt Gilroy-Wade Redden
Michael Del Zotto-Michal Rozsival
Marc Staal-Dan Girardi.

It makes sense to just substitute the fourth line in. If the centers need a rest, both Higgins and Avery can play a shift or two a game at center to compensate.

I guess the silver lining is that Ilya Kovalchuk will not be playing tomorrow night, so it’s going to have to be Rich Peverley and Nik Antropov that do the damage against either Lundqvist or Steve Valliquette.

Vally / Lisin In; O’Brien Suspended

Some notes:

Lisin Doubtful, Higgins on Top Line

As per SNY Rangers blog, citing Steve Zipay, whom I can’t access anymore thanks to Newsday charging for online content (really?), winger Enver Lisin is doubtful for tonight’s game against Vancouver after taking a shot off the foot against Boston on Sunday. Replacing him on the top line alongside Vinny Prospal and Marian Gaborik is the struggling Chris Higgins.

This is probably a move that has two meanings: 1) although he didn’t score, Higgins played a solid game against Boston. This is could be some sort of recognition of that, in an attempt to 2) get him on the scoreboard. It is no surprise that fans’ patience has been a little thin with Higgins. We all penciled him in for 20 goals, and 15 games into the season, he is one of four goalless Rangers. When the other three are Aaron Voros, Donald Brashear, and Michal Rozsival, it’s a little bit disturbing to put Higgins in that company. But, there’s a solid chance that this will work, as he’s playing with the two Rangers that average more than a point per game.

Also making the trip out west was Dane Byers, who will likely be filling in for the injured Donald Brashear. The rumor is that he injured his hand fighting Colton Orr way back when. If he produces, both on offense and in overall toughness, something the Rangers have lacked, we may be seeing a lot more than initially anticipated.

Finding Kotalik Ice Time

It’s becoming increasingly clear that Ales Kotalik will be an important member of the 2009-10 New York Rangers. Not only does he have a booming shot on the power play, he’s shown strong defensive responsibilities, and a nose for the net. So far, he has 3 goals and 2 assists,  and he’s done that while spending two games on the fourth line. Which brings me to my next question: How do the Rangers find ice time for Kotalik?

The first two lines are set in stone: Prospal-Dubinsky-Gaborik, and Higgins-Drury-Callahan. Both have created plenty of scoring chances, and have been the top two lines on the ice in most games. The third and fourth line is where things start to get tricky. When Sean Avery returned, he was placed on the third line, with Artem Anisimov and Enver Lisin. Kotalik was moved to the fourth line, and Aaron Voros was moved to the bench. The problem is, Kotalik is not a fourth liner. Hell, for 3 million a year, he’s probably not a 3rd liner either. The Rangers, I believe, have to find Kotalik more time. But, how do they do it?

The easiest scenario is moving Enver Lisin to the fourth line. His speed would be a welcome addition. And although Dave thinks otherwise, I think Lisin has been very impressive in the offensive zone thus far. Defensively, he’s a work in progress, which is why I think a fourth line assignment wouldn’t be good for him. Lisin needs to be with other offensively talented guys to succeed. Playing with Boyle and Brashear is probably not the answer.

You could also bench Lisin, and bring back Aaron Voros. A line of Brashear-Boyle-Voros is intriguing, and they played well the first couple of games together. But by benching Lisin, you risk stunting his development. If you send him down to Hartford to play regularly, you risk the chance of him bolting for the KHL. It’s a no-win situation.

The final scenario is putting Avery on the fourth line. His goal scoring would be a nice addition to the hard working fourth line, and something about Brashear and Avery on the ice at the same time gets me excited. But, Avery is not a fourth line player. He’s a legitimate top 6 forward.

This is a good problem to have. I can’t remember the last time the Rangers had too many guys who could provide offense. I’m not sure what the coaching staff will do. There are a lot of variables, but I can’t see Kotalik staying on the fourth line all year. You could switch Lisin and Kotalik depending on matchups. That might be the way to go, but then you risk chemistry. It’s a tough call, but one I’m glad the Rangers have. So what do you think? How can the Rangers best find Kotalik ice time?

Where Art Thou, Enver Lisin?

I was sitting in the very last row of MSG for last night’s game against Anaheim. Yes, literally the last row, and it was awesome. You can see everything from the last row, except Enver Lisin. Last night was supposed to be his break-out game, where he proves to the coaching staff that he belongs in the lineup, and on the top three lines. But the only time I saw the winger was when he was coughing up the puck, or just kind of skating around in circles.

Lisin did nothing last night to prove his worth to the coaching staff, and while I do not believe he will be benched, I get the feeling his demotion to the fourth line that occurred over the course of last night’s game will be more of the permanent demotion for now. After a good preseason, Lisin has been held off the scoreboard, save for two assists, and has been relatively invisible other than that. His play without the puck, which was questioned in the preseason, hasn’t improved.

To answer the question posed the other day, if it were my choice, I would still sit Voros, and demote Lisin to the fourth line, until he proves he can play without the puck.

Avery In, Who’s Out?

With Sean Avery returning to the lineup for tomorrow’s game against Anaheim (one which I will be attending), the question surrounding his return isn’t about Avery himself, but about who will sit when he does return. Avery has been rotating on the fourth line with Brian Boyle, Aaron Voros, and Donald Brashear in practice, but that doesn’t mean he will be playing on the fourth line.

John Tortorella has shown reluctance to break up the top two lines, especially with the chemistry the line of Prospal-Dubinsky-Gaborik has been showing since the season started. Also, with the line of Lisin-Anisimov-Kotalik finally getting on the board the other night against the Caps, it is unlikely that Tortorella would want to mess with that just yet.

Avery slots in as a top-nine wing, where the Rangers actually have a lot of depth. It is possible that the Rangers scratch Enver Lisin, who has had trouble finding his game away from the puck. But Avery doesn’t have the skill or the speed with the puck that Lisin has. This is an interesting problem the Rangers have right now, but it’s a good problem to have. When was the last time the Rangers actually had to think about which player to scratch when a player returned from injury?

An interesting way they can solve this problem is by simply playing Avery on the fourth line. Not because he should be on the fourth line, but to ease him back from his injury. This allows the Rangers to have one more game to evaluate who should be the scratch from the lineup. Reading between the lines, it gives Enver Lisin one more game to prove to the coaching staff that he belongs in the lineup.

The Kids! The Kids!

My dad has a saying for success in sports: The Kids! The Kids! Play the Kids!  He says that kids provide enthusiasm, exuberance, talent. It seems the Rangers were listening. After three games, it’s hard to tell if Michael Del Zotto is going to play as well as he has. It’s hard to tell if Matt Gilroy is going to play as well as he has. It’s hard to tell for Enver Lisin, even Brandon Dubinsky. It’s hard to tell for Artem Anisimov. But for three games, these guys have shown that they can produce, that they can infuse life into a team.

Let’s take last year’s team for example. Pretty veteran laden team. How many rookies did they have? Just Lauri Korpikosi. Include Callahan and Dubinsky, and that’s only 3 kids. Petr Prucha and Nigel Dawes were traded midseason. You see, the problem of the Rangers in the early 2000s was the lack of youngsters. You can overpay for veterans, and your team could be very talented, but unless you have that youthful exuberance, that youthful spirit, you’re not going to go very far. The Red Wings always call up a rookie or two for their playoff run. The Yankees in baseball infused youngsters and vets on their way to the best record in baseball this year. Youngsters are crucial to success in sports. 

Now you have MDZ, Gilroy, Anisimov, Lisin on the ice nightly, and playing in all situations. It’s been three games. It would be foolish to get over excited. But, it’s exciting to watch these guys develop, produce, it’s good for the team. The Rangers might not win the Cup. But their success is crucial to the team’s success. It’s all about the kids. My dad was right all along.

What to do with Enver Lisin

The Rangers have cut the roster from 54 on the first day of training camp to 23, and most of those cuts were easy decisions to make. With one game left in the preseason, and a deadline of October 1 to be under the cap, the Rangers face a very interesting problem when it comes to Enver Lisin.

Lisin, acquired from Phoenix in exchange for Lauri Korpikoski, has had a very good preseason. He is tied for the team lead in goals, netting three goals in the six games so far, which puts him fourth in points. He is also third on the team in SOG, with 13. He sits at a -1, which isn’t good, but it’s not the end of the world either. We have seen the kid fly down the ice, his skating ability is unquestioned, and he has simply played his way on to the roster this preseason. The problem, is that so did Artem Anisimov (although it was his job to lose), and that creates a very full top three lines.

There are two solutions to this, and neither one is all that appealing. The first one, is keeping Lisin with the team, and stick him on the fourth line with Boyle and one of Brashear/Voros. In a John Tortorella system, the fourth line gets two shifts a period, if that. Do you think Lisin will benefit from playing five minutes a game? Will Lisin see powerplay time if he is on the fourth line? Will his play suffer because he is playing with offensively challenged linemates? These are questions that Torts needs to consider when making this decision. The upside to this solution, is that in case of an injury, the Rangers have a substitute in place without having to go to Hartford and play the waiver game.

The other solution is less appealing, as it would involve sending Lisin down to Hartford, where he would get regular playing time, probably with Evgeny Grachev and P.A. Parenteau, on the first line. There are a few problems with this scenario. First, he would have to clear waivers, and he is likely not to. Second, to be called up, he would have to pass through re-entry waivers, which again, he is likely not. Third, and probably the most serious, is that if he gets sent to Hartford, will he bolt for Russia? Do you expect the KHL to recognize his contract with the Rangers?

In my humble opinion, which means a lot as a blogger living in my mother’s basement, is that the Rangers simply need to keep him around and play him on the fourth line and the powerplay. This will get him roughly 10 minutes a game, which can be enough to keep him happy for now. He is also in the lineup in case of a mid-game injury, game misconduct, or if Sean Avery’s antics get the better of him. This is, in all likelihood, their best bet, and what Tortorella is planning on doing with the young winger.

This is a good problem to have, as you can never have too much depth on a roster. One thing is for certain though, Enver Lisin has played his way on to this team, and deserves a fair shot to get regular playing time.