Looks like Ryan Callahan (shoulder) isn't the only Ranger who's going to make their season debut tonight in Los Angeles as Alain Vigneault announced Arron Asham will replace Jesper Fast in the line-up and play on the fourth line with Dominic Moore and Derek Dorsett (via Blueshirts United)...
"We're going to play against LA and against San Jose, two big teams, so I knew I was going to put Arron in the lineup sooner than later," explained Vigneault.
Here's Asham on his return to the line-up...
"I want to show that there's still some life in these old legs. And I think me, Dom, and Dors want to show the coaches that we can be effective and play a physical game, so that they keep running us out there."
For video of Asham's full statement, click here.
To make room for Asham in the line-up, Jesper Fast will be a healthy scratch.
...while it obviously makes sense to have Asham on the fourth line over Fast, I still have to question how Pyatt remains in this line-up. I get the whole "clean slate" thing, but I didn't see anything in the preseason or last Thursday that indicated Pyatt has "grabbed it." I mean how much better would a third line of Fast-Boyle-Cally look. I get that Fast would be on his off wing, but he'd still be better than Pyatt.
...either way, I do like the move to Asham in an effort to get a little more toughness in the line-up.
Here's the probable line-up vs. the Kings (via Daily News)...
...despite my hatred of the third line, I am a big fan of the remainder of the line-up. Although, if they fail to produce tonight, I might have to rethink that.
Meanwhile, AV discussed the reasoning behind demoting JT MIller to the AHL...
"We just felt that with (Miller) being such a young player he needed to play, and having two extra forwards did not make a lot of sense (financially against the salary cap). We just felt we needed to send him to Hartford to get some games in. At the start (of the season) veteran guys will get a longer look, a longer opportunity. I wanted the kid to play, and (salary) cap-wise it was the right thing to do, also."
...while I'm still somewhat surprised with the decision, in the salary cap era sometimes money ends up being the determining factor. Although, if the Rangers would have just bought out Richards they wouldn't have to worry about this stuff.
...i also think Miller was just a place holder for Cally anyway. The same way Fast is for Hagelin.
AV's full presser...
Vigneault also reported that while Lundqvist will start tonight, Biron will likely get one of the next three games.
As any new coach would do you gotta roll with the veterans especially since we open with 9 games on the road. The physical play of the 4th line brings energy to the bench sometimes. I understand Fast being a healthy scratch last night being we faced the Kings, but throughout the season i would not be surprised if Kreider, Kristo and Lindberg play big minutes along with Fast.
Any chance AV answered the Pyatt question right there in that video, about 1 minute in, he's asked why Miller got sent down and part of his response was that early on in the season and in the evaluation veterans usually get a longer look while young guys are quicker to get sent down to get the minutes. A month or two from now it may be a different story.
I think the only one that makes Pyatt's work on the wall look good is Boyle. Sadly the kid they sent down gives you hope, he gets to the puck, he holds the defender off well. There are possibilities then.
Also, from the wolf-pack game last night:
"William Cullen was at the game and sent in these thoughts:
Chris Kreider: “Like Saturday, I thought he was the best player on the ice. He scored and beat the goalie on another but hit the inside of the post. He used his size and speed to create a lot of chances. His line, with Oscar Lindberg and Danny Kristo, was very impressive all game long. He may have even gotten part of McIlrath’s goal.”
JT Miller: “He was flying around, always in the middle of the action and always around the puck. He made some mistakes forcing the puck in the defensive zone and took a lazy penalty, but overall he had a great game.”
Danny Kristo: “only had one shot but had two great assists. He was active and noticeable in all areas of the game. He seems like a good PP player, makes smart players with the puck and didn’t seem to take any plays off.”
Boyle and Pyatt are utterly useless in my opinion.
When they are on the ice its time for a bathroom break, because there is no chance of the rangers scoring.
Py is in for board work, experience, size and he doesn't have bad hands for a bigger guy. He gets scapegoated way to much and the contribution of players like him go unnoticed by the casual fan. Having said that I agree he'll need to start doing a bit more if he wants to stay in the line up. I think AV'a reasoning was quite clear. "Veterans are going to get a longer look". Miller needs to play. He'll be back. I'd rather see Fast play then sit but for now it makes sence to have Py out there against LA and SJ as well as Asham in. We got to play meaner. No excuses about not enough toughness. Slats is an idiot IMO by not building more grit up front and keeping Richey's lead weight contract but our coach needs to work with what we got. We're not a small team pound for pound. He's got to coach these guys to get moee physical and pay the price for success.
Everyone forgets that Asham actually has a great shot. Im pulling for him as well, thought he looked great throughout camp and being he's playing for his future he's gonna be balls to the wall!
With that said, Dorsett and Asham although tough, aren't big and mean enough for a deep run. I hate the use the word "enforcer" but we need a big mean presence in a bad way.
Hope Nash wakes up tonight and finds some room to light the lamp.
I don't get why Fast is in the NHL if he isn't going to play. I get that Asham, although not the favorite of every coach, provides enough upside to be in the lineup, provided his back is 100%, I just don't get why Fast sits. It makes no sense. Kid needs to play against NHL competition.
Also, could this team please get a heavyweight? Dorsett and Asham cannot bang with the big boys.
Would hate to see Asham not playing on this team! He brings a lot more to the game than others who I can't for life of me figure out why they are here!
Wish they would move Pouliot up with Nash. Actually showed some chemistry, and immediately split up.
I'm pulling for Asham to have a good game and hold a place in the line-up. Despite all the years we've spent despising him as he moved around the Eastern Conference, he seems like a good teammate, brings the "grit" and "fight" that we all feel is lacking from our roster, and has a better track record of contributing offensively every once in a while then most of the other 4th liners who have walked thru the NYR revolving door. All that a the minimal cap hit of $1 Mil/year.
Up until last year, when Torts wouldn't give him a fair shot at staying in the line-up and playing more than 4 minutes a night, he's cracked 20 points in most of the season where he played 70+ games a year. And as he said in his interview with Jim Cerny, he knows he's playing to keep his career going.
I'm with you Kev I really hate that third line. But statistically Cally has better on ice performances while playing with grinders, and having a finisher on that line can make all the sustained zone pressure Boyle and Pyatt bring useful. Hope we play a good game tonight.
@Free Lindberg Too bad this didn't happen last year. I like PL (and was hoping maybe he would be the coach of the NYR after Torts)
He's had a horrible track record in PHI, but I put that more on Holmgren, who's acquired some players who, frankly, look like they could give a crap about playing professional hockey.
@Betweentheworlds I think guys like Pyatt and Boyle (and maybe even Zucc, Pouliot, and D. Moore) serve as stopgap players for now until some of the kids are ready to assume their roles. They're playing for their NHL lives since they are all UFAs (except Zucc he's RFA) at the end of the season. If they prove their worth, then they'll get a deal (not necessarily from NYR). If not, they could very well be replaced by a kid from the Pack and either take their place in the AHL, or find themselves somewhere else, which I think is more likely in the case of Boyle and Pyatt. No telling yet where it all falls out, but I would guess by the time Hags comes back we'll have a better sense of who stays and who goes...at least for the 1st round.
@Betweentheworlds I've said it before. It's not up to AV to turn guys who were never physical players into physical grinding types (Torts tried to do this way too often) It's on Slats to acquire guys who already have that style in their makeup. In fairness to Slats, he is trying with his drafting of McIlrath. (but that's not panning out thus far)
@Betweentheworlds Love everything you're saying. I'll be more than happy to eat crow if Pyatt is able to step up his game under AV.
@Iron Mike Dude's got a laser for a wrister!
@PenaltySh0t I'll be more than happy to eat crow of they line has a great game.