Don’t you hate when a handful of awesome shows are smashed into the same time block on the same night? And especially when there’s a really important game on that night as well. It could get confusing. Keeping your hand on the “Previous Channel” button, while trying to maneuver your PIP settings so Michael Scott’s head isn’t blocking half of the ice of the Kings-Blackhawks game.
Luckily for us, DVR was invented, so we can cram as many awesome sitcoms and reality shows into our heads while not sacrificing the live events that hold priority.
Unfortunately for Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella, nobody has been able to invent a lineup DVR because his job is going to get a lot more difficult than it already is.
Tortorella currently has the daunting task of deciding who plays and who doesn’t.
The Rangers faced a slew of injuries, all occurring around the same time.
The Rangers’ youth stepped up to the plate and have been performing at an unbelievable pace in the veterans’ absence.
All the injuries, which once crippled the Rangers’ lineup, are all just about healed — at the same time.
According to Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants, both Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi will be ready to go tomorrow night against Pittsburgh, with Brandon Dubinsky as a game-time decision.
Callahan hasn’t played since Dec. 15 when he broke his hand blocking a shot. Dubinsky has missed the previous five games with a stress fracture in his left leg, while Girardi has been out with a sore rib muscle for the past two contests.
Wait, it gets better.
Also expected to return this week is Vinny Prospal, who has yet to skate in game action the entire season due to right knee surgery; and Erik Christensen, who hasn’t played since Dec. 29 when he sprained his right MCL, is due back in a week or so.
Now looking at the Rangers current lineup, two obvious players that will be sent packing back to the Connecticut Whale are Kris Newbury and Evgeny Grachev.
That pretty much assures Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky’s spot without changing the dynamic of the roster.
Once Prospal and Christensen come back, however, that’s where things get a little tricky.
The Norwegian Christmas present Mats Zuccarello has pretty much made it impossible for Tortorella to send him back to the AHL since he was called up just before the Holidays.
The 23-year-old, 5′ 7″ rookie has not only provided an offensive spark in the Rangers’ lineup, but he’s also been nothing short — no pun intended (OK, a little pun, but I swear that I didn’t intend one with “little”) — of sensational in the shootout.
Zuccarello is a perfect four-for-four in shootouts this year, with two game-winners. Only Christensen has more than one game-deciding goal in shootouts with two as well.
With Zuccarello hopefully a lock to stay in the lineup, the only logical option that Tortorella has is to remove captain Chris Drury from an everyday position.
I have been a huge Drury supporter for quite some time, but even I can’t see the sense in him remaining in the lineup.
Outside of his 56.6 face-off win percentage, Drury, other than leadership, has brought very little to the table. I’m not questioning his determination, effort or ability to lead while on the ice, but productivity is the end-all matter at the end of the day; and that’s something that he hasn’t been doing.
In 21 games, Drury has recorded only four points — all assists. He’s also only blocked 12 shots, one of his biggest assets, which is two less than even Marian Gaborik.
The plot thickens when Ruslan Fedotenko comes into the picture as well. Fedontenko, who has missed the past four games with a separated shoulder, will more than likely be returning to the lineup in two weeks or less.
Although he’s not dazzled the offensive board, he’s always been one of Tortorella’s go-to guys, dating back to when the two won a Cup in Tampa Bay together.
Fedotenko will undoubtedly be placed back into the lineup upon return, causing another rift in the ranks.
Unless the Dolan’s find out a way to translate their iO DVR technology they use for Cablevision into the Rangers’ bench, John Tortorella surely has his work cut out for him.