Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sean Avery Gets Chance With Gaborik In Rangers Lineup Lottery

In the lottery type atmosphere that is John Tortorella putting lines together there was a new ping pong ball that popped up to be slotted with Marian Gaborik today and that was Sean Avery with Erik Christensen in the middle.  Avery is being rewarded for his improved energy, impact and overall play the last three games with a chance to play with the highly skilled Gaborik.  The combination of Avery and Gaborik is not completely new as they spent a limited amount of time together last season when that jackpot drawing was constantly going on.  Avery has a skill set that can allow him to succeed with Gaborik whether it be his speed, his willingness to work in the corner and behind the net or his ability to crash the net for rebounds on Gaborik shots.  A quick piece of advice for Avery would be to make sure to do something good quick or the next lotto drawing might be held by his third shift of the game.

What is becoming clearer in all these line shifting moves is that Erik Christensen clearly bribed someone at MSG to get his name on more of the ping pong balls because no matter what he does good or bad he continually gets chance after chance to play with Gaborik.  It could be the flashes that Christensen can show, maybe it is the fact when he does not play on a top line he is for all intents and purposes useless, but whatever it is Christensen needs to start making these chances pay off because they are coming at the expense of players like Derek Stepan and Artem Anisimov.

The other lines and pairings from practice today looked like this:

As I was referencing above the lines in discussing Christensen with Boyle playing the way he is this season if Christensen is going to play with Gaborik then either Stepan or Anisimov is being relegated to the fourth line right now.  There is no denying that Anisimov’s impact has slipped the last number of games with only 1 point in his last nine, but if you are trying to get him going I don’t know how saddling him with Frolov and White/Boogaard is going to make that happen.  For me a lot of the struggle for Artem of late had to do with the schedule because he came across to me as the most tired of the group, but now they have will have had 2 full days off before the Islanders game and I expect a better performance.  I said my piece on Frolov earlier, so I will skip it now.

On defense the pairs looked like this:

Gilroy clearly the scratch again, whether he deserves to be is up for discussion.