by Patrick Hoffman on 02/25/09 at 07:30 PM ET
With John Tortorella making his season debut as the New York Rangers head coach tonight against the Toronto Maple leafs, many fans are hoping that this will signal lots of positive changes.
Based on what Tortorella told the press corps yesterday, he wants to instill confidence in his troops and give them the creativity that they need to play effectively. At the same time, however, he also mentioned that he does not want to fall into the same trap he did last season with the Tampa Bay Lightning, where his team went all out on offense and suffered on the defensive end.
With that said, Tortorealla is going to do everything he can to get some offensive chemistry into this lineup. For one thing, expect to see a lot less of the fourth line and more of the top three lines as Tortorella believes in playing his best players as much as possible in order to give the team the best chance to win a hockey game.
According to Steve Zipay’s blog earlier today, the lines will be as follows:
Dawes-Korpikoski-Prucha (who we predict will play many, many games for Torts)
While I like the way the offense looks, I am not a fan of the team’s defensive pairings. Pairing Michal Rozsival with Wade Redden could be asking for trouble, given the way that they have played this season. The pairing of Kalinin and Rietz is also a bit worrisome but may be the coaching staff sees something that we don’t.
Don’t expect these lines to be the be all and end all of lineups but let’s see where this takes us tonight. A win would certainly be the right direction for this struggling hockey club.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.