With Arron Asham missing this morning's optional skate a day after sitting out practice with a mild groin strain, Andrew Gross at the Bergen Record says to expect a different line-up which includes Stu Bickel on the fourth line and Steve Eminger on defense.
Here's Bickel on the move...
“Playing forward or D? Obviously, I’ve got to be prepared to play both. It doesn’t really affect my mental preparation. I bring the same elements to the table either way. Obviously, naturally I’m a defenseman, that comes more naturally to me. But yeah, I just want to play. We’ve got to turn it around at some point, now would be a good time to do that regardless of who we’re playing.”
...i've been told by fans of Asham's former teams to expect him to be out of the line-up often. Good to hear the Rangers resident tough guy can't play through injury.
...with Torts being forced to play Bickel at forward with no other forwards available, you have to be concerned about the depth of the Rangers. I mentioned earlier today that JT Miller is an option, but if the Rangers don't feel he's ready they might want to bring someone in. And that someone might just be available...
Jeff Woywitka (STL) and Tim Kennedy (SJS) on waivers today.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 23, 2013
...listen, Kennedy isn't the answer to any of the Rangers problems, but they could do a lot worse than him as their 12th/13th forward. Thought he was given a raw deal after Rangers signed him two years ago.
...another name that I'm already seeing Rangers fans mention that actually could help is Jason Arnott. He's currently retired, but I can't imagine he couldn't be lured out if given the chance to play for a Stanley Cup contending team. He might work well with Nash the way Thornton does. Would likely mean Stepan would be moved to wing.
Steve Zipay at Newsday says the Rangers will be wearing their Heritage jerseys tonight.
Play with the lines all you want. If they aren't winning the one on one battles then it doesn't matter. Pens and bruins had their way with them. And all this about "mindset" and "mental makeovers." Hope its just mental...
So they've scored 4 goals in 2 games and given up 9 and depth on the 4th line is the issue? How about fixing the top 4 and top 6 first and then we can worry about role guys.
Been saying it for a week now. The gap between the top 2 and bottom 2 lines is atrocious (Kreider exculded). I say bring up someone like Miller and have him/Kreider sit on the wings between Halpern (or bring up another rookie) and run 3 'skill' lines then have Boyle center Rupp/Asham on the 4th line for grinding.
Damn ... I'm not really crazy about any of those options, though I'd be interested in seeing any of them. Arnott has a lot of miles on him and I can't believe he'd be able to play Nash minutes, he must be 10 years older, right? Agreed on Kennedy. I liked him, but not sure how he'd fit right now. Geez, are there no other options?
Kevin, where did you hear that Arnott was "retired." I can't remember who tweeted it but the last comment I hear was he was waiting for teams to get into the season and see what they need.
The Rangers need to do either one of two things;
1. Sign or call up a player or 2 to sit in the press box to be ready to be called on to play on any given night.
2. Trade for Dustin Byfuglien since he can play both up front and on the blue line.
Why did we get Asham in the first place? We have Bickel, Rupp (Pyatt?) for toughness and let's be honest - the guy is not exactly a speed machine or an offensive threat. It's a complete waste of roster space.
@JoeAntos MZA FTW all day long.
@gravey94 Role guys effect the top 6. If the fourth line is pinning another team in the offensive zone. Hitting D-men and making the goalie work, they are helping the top lines. All great teams have at least 3 reliable lines, most have four (see NJ whose fourth line kicked NYR ass last playoff)
@AG_Blue Other options: http://espn.go.com/nhl/freeagents/_/type/available
@GiveGartneraCup Total laziness on my part. Saw someone tweet that he was retired and never checked.
@GiveGartneraCup I've not heard anything about him being retired, just that he's not currently on a roster. I would be surprised if someone didn't snap him up on a one-year deal.
@KurtBalogh I hear you, but it's not like Stepan is Adam Oates out there.
@GiveGartneraCup I'm listening. lol
@Beckfan5 Byfuglien would cost an arm and a leg. Having said that, I love him.
@queensbee I think Asham has a lot to offer if he can be an instigator. But he has to be on the ice.
@GiveGartneraCup I don't deny role players are important but if your car's engine is not running, you don't put on 4 new tires and expect it to work. A part time 4th liner is not going to fix the lack of hard work.
@GiveGartneraCup -- looking down the list the solution is not jumping out at me, though there's definitely a few serviceable players there. what happened to Doan? Why is he an FA?
@queensbee Ya, that's the last I heard as well. I saw him go unsigned all summer and was surprised no one snapped at him. Big Center, 17 goals last year on a great team but poor offensively (St. Louis). Wins faceoffs. Park himself in front of the net on Power Play. Uses that big body to control the puck (still think the biggest problem the Rangers had in the playoffs was puck possession). Is there some knock out there that we aren't aware of? I'm sure he's lost a step, but you don't need a fourth line center to be a speed demon.
that's right. he's a good leader and a solid player but he's one of the rangers that needs to get a little more nasty in his game. ala boyle and hopefully pyatt.
@KevinDeLury agreed but he's more naturally a play maker. I think he'd suffer on the wing. I just like him and want to see him succeed.
@KevinDeLury I am well aware of that. That's why it was the second option and not the first.
@KevinDeLury Really? I've never been overly impressed by him and I think durability is a serious issue for a tough guy at his age. Better than John Scott, but that's a very low bar...
@GiveGartneraCup I would take Arnott over Asham any day. To me, Asham's benefits as an agitator are far outweighed by sluggishness, injuries, suspensions, etc.
@KevinDeLury he did make a pretty sweet play on that Nash goal. I think he'll be great. Plus they're wearing the heritage jerseys tonight so I fully expect a win. Haha.
@KurtBalogh I hear you no reason to mess with his game. Unless they don't see him being a successful NHL center.
@upstate tom Was pissed they didn't go after Konopka. Big miss.
u know, i'll bet colton orr might b available, his skating was getting a bit better b4 he left. i've never thought much of asham either. there must b a reason no one's kept him.
@queensbee I've always hated him, which means he must be doing something right.