The woeful Blueshirts are losers again. The most recent defeat came courtesy of the NHL's doormat Atlanta Thrashers. It's getting late real early on Broadway. It's not so much the losses that are cause for concern. After all, we're only six games into a season of drastic change. Rather, it's the fact that their don't seem to be any line combinations that make sense. Or maybe it's the coaching staff that can't seem to find the right combinations?
It's easy to criticize the coach. Instead, I'm going to give Tom Terrific some advice. Tommy Boy, if you're reading this, here's what you do with the offense:
Line 1: Prucha - Gomez - Jagr
Line 2: Straka - Drury - Shanny
Line 3: Hollweg - Dubinsky - Callahan
Line 4: Strudwick - Betts - Orr
Allow me to explain:
Line 1: Although I don't think that Gomez is the best centerman for Jagr, he is the best option the team has. Playing Prucha with those guys has two benefits: (1) In his rookie season, Prucha and Jagr had great chemistry. For reasons known only to Tommy Boy, they were never really allowed to play together since then. (2) Gomez needs to play with a speedy FINISHER. Prucha can be that guy. Instead of worrying so much about balancing ALL of his lines, it's time for Renney to consider icing at least ONE competent line.
Line 2: Another imperfect line, but where else will you play these three?!?!
Line 3: These three guys have played hard all season. They can all skate, hit and play a high energy game. They could be this season's HMO line.
Line 4: Why Strudwick? Because on any given night at least one of the Rangers top six d-men play pathetic hockey. By having seven d-men in the lineup, Strudwick can move back to the blue line if (or should I say when) one of those d-men start to struggle. The fourth line doesn't play much anyway so it wouldn't disrupt the flow of the game much if Strudwick took some shifts on the blue line.
Renney's pretty much tried every other combination possible. It's time to stop stubbornly refusing to reunite Prucha and Jagr. Prucha's teammates obviously respect him as evidenced by the two fights that were started to avenge dirty hits on Prucha in the third period of tonight's game. If only his coach felt the same way about him. Like I said, pathetic!