No, I did not commit a spelling faux pas in my headline.  The word “Fourth” refers to coach Tom Renney’s stubborn refusal to play four lines.  While power plays and penalty kills do wreck havoc with a coach’s ability to run four lines, it seems that Renney has just decided to ignore what worked so well last year.

Yes, the Rangers do not have a fourth line comparable to last year’s HMO Line of Ryan Hollweg, Dominic Moore and Jed Ortmeyer.  However, Renney and Rangers management has made no attempt to work a fourth line into the mix.

The biggest problem about giving the fourth line any meaningful fourth line time is the case of Colton Orr.  In the Blueshirts’ 5-4 overtime loss to Atlanta, Orr saw only four shifts for a total of 2:21 in ice time.   Steve Zipay of “Newsday” had the following quote from Renney in reference to Orr’s presence in the lineup, “Dialogue with our players. We like our team with Colton in it. We seem to be a stronger, more assertive team with him playing. It’s sort of karma among the players … they like having Colton’s presence.”

I still find it hard to believe that the coaches or players could really believe that.  How effective can an enforcer really be when he receives such limited ice time?  The problem is he can’t be an effective deterrent.

<>Orr aside, Renney’s forgetfulness has cost Hollweg ice time – even though he might be the team’s best physical presence among the forwards – Brendan Shanahan excluded.  Hollweg saw five shifts for a total of 3:33 in ice time.  The only fourth liner who received any kind of ice time was Adam Hall – and that ice time came outside the realm of fourth line duties because he played 1:49 on the power play and 0:36 on the penalty kill.

If a team is not going to run four lines on a semi-regular basis, then the fourth line players have to be able to get ice time during special team play.  Both Hall and Hollweg are capable of seeing and getting more ice time killing penalties with Hall needing to get more power play time so that the Rangers can use Matt Cullen on the point.  The problem is that Orr is not going to see any special team play.

Some might argue he should get a look on the power play.  I say nay-nay.  Orr is a player who has only 1 career point in the NHL (an assist) in 53 games.  He has never registered double figures in goals in his junior/pro career.  His best season came in 2000-2001 when he scored 8 goals and 13 points in 60 games in the Western Hockey League.

My spirits received a boost when I found out that Hartford’s leading scorer Ryan Callahan had been recalled.  Sadly, the team has no plans to give Callahan any ice time.  It seems that Callahan was recalled so the coaching staff could take a closer look at him and because the Wolf Pack are off until Saturday.  Hopefully, the coaching staff sees enough during practice to warrant some playing time in the NHL.  If it isn’t going to be Callahan. then call up Brandon Dubinsky or Jarkko Immonen because the Ranger forwards run the risk of running out of gas late in the season if the team continues to be one line shy.

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