NEW YORK RANGERS vs. New York Islanders
The RIVALRY Resumes; 2011-2012
Marty Biron I believe is getting the start in net tonight in Long Island against the Islanders. And that's just fine with me. With the way goalies have been falling prey to injuries in this town lately, why risk Henrik with all the bad karma hovering over the metropolitan area.
Marty Brodeur of the Devils will miss a few games with a bad shoulder. But the bigger news is that Islanders' goalie Rick DiPietro is out with a concussion. Had he suffered a broken arm or something other than a concussion, I might be more inclined to poke fun at him, and the Islanders for sign him to that ridiculous contract a few years back. But ever since the study when medical researchers actually went back and studied brains of deceased former athletes and encountered astonishing new details on how much damage is actually being caused by these head injuries, I'm less likely to poke fun now. Rick DiPietro also suffered a pair of concussions back in 2007 within less than two weeks of each other. And before that, there was a first concussion to speak of in 2005.
In net for the Islanders tonight will be old Rangers' farm-hand; Al Montoya.
*UPDATE: Evgeni Nobokov will start for NYI - Not Al Montoya.
The Rangers aren't without injury problems of their own. In early October, the team talked about Marc Staal perhaps returning to action by tonight for their first game state-side after returning from their European Tour. Today, Marc is not ready to play. His own concussion problem stemming from the hit he absorbed courtesy of his brother back in February is still not resolved. Marc Staal may very well miss a substantial portion of the season. He still suffers from symptoms such as headaches. This will be the Rangers only (relatively speaking...) "home" game, as they will embark on a five game Canadian swing that will be also be air-travel intensive. I don't know....But I think it's unlikely the Rangers will make him fly with them.
In Marc Staal's absence, Dan Girardi clocked in a ton of minutes during the two opening games in Sweden. He's about to be asked to clock-in even more now. That's because Michael Sauer will not play tonight against the Islanders with a bad shoulder. That leaves the Rangers with one top defensive pair; Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi. Watch their minutes tonight.
The Rangers will look towards the Kids for help again, just as they have been pressed into doing for two seasons now. Tim Erixon, and fresh-meat Jeff Woywitka, will be tasked with helping out Steve Eminger and Mike Del Zotto. Anything after that.....I have no answers for you. We need help on the blue line. It's as simple as that.
The Rangers might be over their European jet-lag, but rust after being off for a week may appear obvious to us at times tonight against the Islanders who are playing their fourth game. At least that's what I'm expecting. The Rangers were pressed into scheduling oddities this season because of the ongoing MSG renovations. So in effect, the Blueshirts are restarting their season. Then after tonight, it's off to Canada for five games. In truth, I'd be happy to get out of this game with no injuries.
Islander fans.......; you guys got a nice package of youngsters over there. You guys can definitely hang with teams. However, you're not ready to punch through into the first division yet. But c'mon...., does it ever stop with Rick DiPietro?
The situation in Long Island and their ability to retain it's Hockey club brings this rivalry into a different light now. I still believe this is a three team Hockey metropolis. And I believe one of them should always remain on Long Island. So I sincerely hope the Islanders and Nassau County can still make something happen that ensures a competitive Islander franchise stays and thrives in Long Island.
Let's drop the puck and start getting some regularity into this season. For the Blueshirts, it starts "again" tonight.
Let's Go Rangers!