After showing consistency virtually the entire season, Alain Vigneault’s lineup has for the most part been in flux since acquiring Martin St. Louis at the trade deadline.
And it looks like the Rangers head man will again shuffle his forwards in Vancouver tonight as Carl Hagelin replaced Dan Carcillo on the top line with Derek Stepan on Rick Nash at practice yesterday.
Here’s AV on the change (via New York Post)…
“I’m going to sleep on it, but it’s 78-to-80 percent that I’ll go that way. Putting Hags there gives us the same kind of speed we had with Kreids.”
Carcillo was bumped down to the fourth line, while Dominic Moore plugged the hole left by Hagelin on the third line with Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis.
…i know Edmonton is a train wreck, but why would AV be looking to change the lineup after such a dominant performance? Carcillo has no business being on the top line, but his toughness and willingness to get dirty in front of the net seemed to open up some ice for both Nash (2g) and Stepan (3a) against the Oilers. As I like to say on this blog, if it’s not broke…
…it also seems that AV, similar to his players, is trying too hard to get St. Louis going. I know D. Moore played with him in Tampa, but stop mixing and matching his linemates looking for the perfect fit!!!! Just leave him alone and allow the former Hart Trophy winner to build chemistry with a steady line.
…speaking of Moore, i also hate AV moving him off the fourth line which has been the team’s most consistent for months. He is the driving force on that line and I’m afraid all these changes are going to have a negative impact on the team.
…having said all that, expect an eight goal explosion from the Rangers tonight. None from St. Louis of course.
On the injury front, Vigneault says he’d like to get John Moore (concussion) one more practice before having to make a decision on him being re-inserted into the lineup.
…i’ve been very critical of Stralman recently, but it looks like Diaz’ strong play has lit a fire under his ass as the Swedish defenseman had his strongest game since the Olympic break Monday night in Edmonton.
Meanwhile, Ryan McDonagh was given a maintenance day yesterday after blocking a shot with his foot as well as taking a stick to the face in Edmonton. He will play tonight.
…how cruel would it be if AV noted before the game that McD was out with an injured foot then announced “April Fool’s!!!!!”
Finally, Pat Leonard at the Daily News notes that Vigneault had no further information on the time frame he expects Chris Kreider to be out following hand surgery.