Over at Blue Notes, Steve Zipay gives an update from Washington...
"-Comfortable with his lines and defensive pairings, coach Tom Renney said defenseman Marek Malik will be a healthy scratch for a third consecutive game. 'I like the momentum we have with this group. I spoke to him and I really respect his professionalism and his ability to play hard at practice,' said Renney, who believes that when the veteran returns to the lineup, 'I'll be hard-pressed to believe he'll be coming back out. But it's a matter of sustaining that.'
-Sean Avery (recovering from wrist surgery) practiced with the team for the second straight day. Although Avery is 'a little frustrated because he's not ready to play today,' Renney said he most likely won't be in the lineup until next week. 'I don't think so,' Renney responded when asked if Sunday's game against Phoenix at the Garden was realistic. 'He's still having a little trouble taking the hard passes...I'm sure he would give it a try, but if something happens, then what do you do?'
-The mood was light in the locker room after practice; the rink was particularly warm during the skate, numerous players said, the ice was soft and the puck was bouncing on passes. Jaromir Jagr wore a devious grin as he walked around with some type of air-pump gauge; Paul Mara said he believes that if the Patriots lose to anyone, it will be the Colts in the playoffs; Hollweg denied that he and a group of guys went to the White House last night, saying something to the effect that he wouldn't miss the sitting president. He was admonished by Alaska native Brandon Dubinsky, who chided, 'Hey, hey, what're you saying, you're an American...' To which Hollweg responded: 'I'm also Canadian.'
-Renney dragged a bucket of pucks to center ice for faceoff practice, first between Scott Gomez and Blair Betts, then Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan. Betts said Gomez suggested it. 'He's really good,' said Gomez. 'I didn't really practice it as much with the Devils. Only way to get better.'
-After the 1-0 overtime win against New Jersey, this is the Rangers (16-12-2) first trip to Washington; the Rangers' top players rose to the occasion in the two wins at the Garden on Oct. 12 (3-1) and Nov. 1 (2-0). The Caps have won three of their last four.
-Michal Rozsival, who had a goal in each game against the Caps, but didn't practice yesterday, skated and declared himself ready. 'The (right) knee is fine,' he said. 'I wanted to skate yesterday, but my shoulder was sore from the weight room, and the trainers said I shouldn't go.' Jagr had three assists in the first game, when Gomez and Martin Straka also scored in the first period. Drury, who scored in the Nov. 1 game, had an assist in the previous victory. Brendan Shanahan had an assist in each game.
-Michael Nylander has missed the last two games for the Caps (11-17-2) with an undisclosed ailment, and general manager George McPhee said the Swedish center wouldn't play until the weekend.
-As is his custom after a shutout, Henrik Lundqvist buys bottles of wine for certain players: The recipients for the 1-0 OT blanking of the Devils? 'Shanny, Hoss and Vally,' he said..."
...as always great update from Zipay. Man this guy has the best job in the world.
...good to see Renney sticking to his guns with Malik.
...too bad Nylander will miss the game tonight. While I wished he shot more, I always liked Nylander on the Rangers. I think this team would be a lot better with him on it this year.