This afternoon’s game between the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks had an interesting wrinkle other than the two head coaches, Alain Vigneault and John Tortorella, facing off against their former teams for the first time.
Michael Del Zotto, who has been a healthy scratch for the greater part of a couple of weeks now, was in the starting lineup today. However, that is not the wrinkle I am referring to. Justin Falk has been the defenseman playing for Del Zotto this season when he is a healthy scratch, so I just figured if Del Zotto was playing, that he would have replaced Falk. That was not the case, though.
Surprisingly, John Moore was the defenseman who sat in place for Del Zotto’s start this afternoon and I do not understand why. Moore is the Rangers’ fastest defenseman and has a very underrated shot, and for a team like the Rangers who struggle to score goals, I just did not understand the move to sit Moore.
When thinking about this more, no pun intended, not only wouldn’t I have sat Moore, but I wouldn’t have even sat Falk either. This might surprise some, but if I had to play Del Zotto right now, the defenseman that I would have made a healthy scratch, because he has been struggling and I think could use a day off, would have been Marc Staal.
The once No. 1 defenseman for the Rangers has just not been the same since his eye injury last season. Staal was never a great skater, but he was always so intelligent with the puck and of course without the puck. No though he is constantly turning the puck over and is looking pretty pedestrian in his play. I think if any defenseman needed a day off today that it would have been Staal.
Obviously, it did not really matter since the Rangers ended up beating the Canucks 5-2, but benching Staal instead of Moore would have been a better idea in my opinion.