Looks like David Quinn has seen enough. Jack Johnson will be a healthy scratch tonight against the Penguins. Brendan Smith will take his place in the lineup. Another change will be Colin Blackwell in for Brendan Lemieux.
Johnson’s scratching wasn’t really expected, but definitely warranted. He’d been by far the worst defenseman on the team. Smith, while not a super star, did well in his two games on the third pair. There was no real reason to scratch him. This is another big step in the Rangers trending in the right direction.
Jack Johnson as a healthy scratch was long overdue, even if it had just been four games. This isn’t going to be a permanent thing, but I’d expect him to be on more of a rotation with Smith going forward.
Brendan Lemieux’s scratch is likely due to injury. He went down hard after blocking a few shots in the third period on Friday. He could barely get to the bench. The injury doesn’t appear to be serious, or he’d be on IR. Blackwell gets his first game of the season in his stead.
Blackwell was promoted off the taxi squad, and his prorated $725,000 cap hit will be added to the Rangers cap.