Lots of news from practice today, but none bigger than Alain Vigneault's decision to start Cam Talbot for a third game in a row tonight in Washington D.C.
Vigneault said this regarding his decision (via Blueshirts United)…
"Cam's played well, won his last two games and I thought it just made sense to come back with him. I'm looking at this like we are trying to win some hockey games. We were good in our last two games, our goaltender was good, and I'm trying to do what is best for us to win tonight."
To Henrik Lundqvist's credit he remains professional with this response to a third straight seat at the end of the bench…
"I didn't expect a change…in the end it's about the team…it's a tough balance because I want to play"
…i've had my fair share of criticisms for AV, but you've got to be impressed with the gumption he's showing going with the hot hand over the struggling franchise goaltender. Especially in an arena in which Lundqvist has given up just one goal in the last three games played there (Games 5 & 7 last year & Oct. 16th this season). To me, this proves that winning trumps all when it comes to the Rangers new head coach.
…we all have our own theories about what's wrong with Lundqvist, but the bottom line is that he's going to need to figure it out and figure it out soon if he wants to remain the Rangers starting goaltender.
In encouraging injury news, Marc Staal skated with the team this morning and said if he's able to practice in full tomorrow, he might be able to return as early as Sunday in Tampa.
…the defense has been a real strong spot the last two games, so similar to when Callahan comes back, AV's going to have a tough decision on who comes out.. The obvious healthy scratch is Del Zotto, but I've got to be honest, he's been pretty damn good the last two games.
Finally, Ryan Callahan skated after practice in sweatpants and a knee brace. He's hoping to be back in the lineup by January 7th.