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SLY WILLIAMS
10-12-2010, 11:07 PM
Rangers might have to tinker with Gaborik's line

Updated: Oct 12, 2010 09:17 PM
By STEVE ZIPAY


Marian Gaborik sprinted out to a fast start last season. He scored two goals in his first two games as a Ranger, and four in his first four games en route to a 42-goal campaign.

Through two games this season, the Rangers' leading scorer in 2009-10 has two assists and was turned away on a penalty shot by Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro on Monday.

Too early to panic? Absolutely.

However, coach John Tortorella soon might be forced to tinker with the top line he chose out of the gate: Gaborik, former King Alexander Frolov and Erik Christensen . Frolov, signed to a $3-million contract during the summer, also has two assists and no goals. Christensen , who was claimed off waivers last December and signed a two-year contract this summer, is day-to-day with a right leg injury. The injury left him unable to play for all but 36 seconds of the third period in Uniondale.

During training camp, Tortorella tried rookie Derek Stepan between the two veterans and wanted to experiment with Vinny Prospal, who clicked with Gaborik early last season. But Prospal's ailing knee has sidelined him since late September and he's been off the ice since Sept. 24.

Christensen, who scored in Buffalo, may be able to dress for Friday's home opener against the Maple Leafs, but if he can't go, the following appear to be the options:

Stepan, who scored a record-tying three goals in his first NHL game against the Sabres, could be reinserted between Gaborik and Frolov; Artem Anisimov, who had a very strong camp and has a goal and two assists on the No. 3 line with Ruslan Fedotenko and Sean Avery ; or captain Chris Drury , who could return to the lineup after breaking his left index finger while blocking a shot in a scrimmage Sept. 20.

Drury's return from injured reserve would require a roster move and Tortorella gave no clue about who that might be. "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it," he said.

Notes & quotes: Some other comparisons to last season: Henrik Lundqvist played the first four games, Steve Valiquette played the fifth, and the Rangers won seven straight after losing the opener to the Penguins . . . Prospal scored the first goal at the Garden . . . The top six defensemen were 3-5-8 in the first three games last season; the top four are 2-6-8 in the first two games this year . . . Brandon Dubinsky , who is 3-1-4 in two games, was 2-2-4 in the first two games of 2009-10.
http://www.newsday.com/sports/hockey/rangers/rangers-might-have-to-tinker-with-gaborik-s-line-1.2355279

mmmrevolver93
10-12-2010, 11:38 PM
good stuff except he has anisimov on the wrong line

commonsense12
10-12-2010, 11:45 PM
I wouldnt mind prospal when he gets back due 1st line duties. Stephan would be great with Dubi and Cally and AA with Fedo and Avery. Where Drury plays i have no idea lol. I would say Drury does 2nd or 3rd line with Stephan doing 1st and AA doing 2nd or 3rd.

I hope when Drury gets back its White who gets the pink slip to Hartford.

bsi
10-13-2010, 12:25 AM
I think Stepan should move up, Drury can play with Avery and Fedotenko on the third line, we already know Drury can't play with Gaborik and Stepan looked good with the first line in preseason, I say load up the first line and let them roll!

RangersMets
10-13-2010, 03:13 AM
I think that one of our main problems last season was inconsistency and that was partly because we hardly ever kept the same lines together. I think we should give atleast one or two lines some time to mesh. I would keep these lines together for atleast a week or two more.

P.S. 10 goals in 2 games, with one game being against the defending Vezina winner, is not bad at all.

SLY WILLIAMS
10-13-2010, 09:34 AM
I really think we need a puck possession guy on that first line like Nylander used to be. People would complain that Nylander didnt shoot enough but by him keeping possession of the puck in the other teams end it opened up many chances for other players and kept the puck out of our own end. We have been missing that kind of puck possession player for a while now.

Bleeds MSG
10-13-2010, 11:10 AM
Personally, I really love the 2nd and third lines as they currently stand. That second line is a smart, hard working line that I think is poised for a breakout year in scoring production, AA and Dubi look very sharp to start. Also the third line has really been impressive as well, grinding it out and creating chances...Avery looks great and Fedetenko has been playing much more physical than I expected.

I hate all the tinkering and honestly if we could just swing a deal for a REAL 1st line center (VP, Spezza, or most likely and ideally Richards) then I think this team could do damage.

Realisticly I see Drury on the 3rd line and Stepan on the 1st until Prospal comes back if EC is hurt. Keep AA with Dubi and Cally and let them grow together because that is our most solid 2-way line.

bsi
10-13-2010, 11:21 AM
The first line needs an effective center, and I know I somewhat defended EC a bit here but if Stepan gets into that first line position I don't think he'll be leaving that spot, I think you'll see that first line come together fast. EC could play with Avery and Feds, and Drury with Prust and whoever.

beast023
10-13-2010, 04:23 PM
The second and third lines are tearing it up these last two games so I'd leave them be for the time being. I think we should give Drury a shot at the first line. Honestly, we're averaging 5 goals per game and the only ones the top unit scored were on the pp, so what are we really risking by putting him there? If anything the top line would be more responsible defensively. I wouldn't risk breaking up the two lines that are playing very effectively.

RangersMets
10-13-2010, 06:20 PM
I feel like the 3rd line would be more effective(in terms of point production) with Stepan centering it rather than Drury. Meanwhile, I think the same could be said for the first line, except the I think the first line is going to put up solid points regardless of who is between Gabs and Frolov.