The fact that Erik Christensen was still out of practice with his leg injury suffered against the Islanders was not a surprise, but the surprise to many Ranger followers might have been who coach Tortorella chose to put in his place at practice this morning. The assumption of many would likely have been that Christensen being injured would lead to rookie Derek Stepan moving up to play with Frolov and Gaborik, while Chris Drury on his way back from injury would slot in Stepan's place with Avery and Fedetenko.
Instead what we saw was the captain, Chris Drury, at least for the day given the assignment with the top line while Stepan remained with his line-mates from the prior two games. This is surprising because at no point last year did Drury really play with Gaborik and it would seem unlikely he has the speed to keep up with him on a line, but this would fit the notion of coach Tortorella seeking to put Drury in more offensive situations. For now I will assume that this move was just to get Drury re-acclimated to a full practice with the club and possibly some unsureness on what Christensen's availability for Friday might end up, but if this continues again tomorrow it will be a very interesting development in this young season. This move would mess up a couple of the assumptions made in my analysis of the Ranger forward moves to come when I wrote it last night, but I will still post it later today in any event.
Andrew Gross over at his blog Rangers Rants also speculates that we might see Matt Gilroy in for Steve Eminger on Friday night.
Update: Following practice Drury said not to read much into his skating with Frolov and Gaborik, while Christensen says he hopes to skate tomorrow and play on Friday. My guess is even if he does skate tomorrow EC sits on Friday.
In other news Drury picks the Yanks in 6 in the ALCS, which I will look at later today or tomorrow.