Tom Renney finally addressed his decision to send out Jaromir Jagr, Michael Nylander and Brad Isbister in the waning moments of Game 5. The Ranger coach’s defense comes courtesy of John Dellapina’s Blog for the Daily News.

So, Renney was asked, you wanted Jagr and Brad Isbister on the ice for that final sequence?

“And even Michael, ” the coach replied. “What I wanted was somebody with the hands who could make the little chip behind the net and help support it and help move the puck out.”

“And you take a chance with that kind of rationale. And I’m completely prepared to accept what might come my way for thinking that way.”

“But I believe I did the right thing.”

One has to wonder if Renney truly believed what he was saying or is covering up for the fact that Jagr wanted out on the ice and Renney won’t or can’t stand up to him? After all, flash back to one year ago when Jagr was on the ice for a meaningless shift at the end of Game 1 against the New Jersey Devils.

Even if we take Renney at his word, as I wrote previously, the Jagr line is the Rangers worst defensive line and two-thirds of the line was either sick (Nylander) or hobbled with a banged up knee (Jagr). While the icings late in regulation did not allow Renney to make the line changes he needed to make, there is still no reason why he did not put his best defensive players on the ice. Besides, who would you rather have working the boards while holding a one-goal lead late in third period – Brad Isbister and Jaromir Jagr or Sean Avery and Brendan Shanahan?

The beat writers all reported interesting lineup changes at practice today. Nigel Dawes was placed on the first line with Nylander and Jagr while Marcel Hossa was demoted to the fourth line while Brad Isbister the potential player on the bubble. In addition, they reported that Renney spent some time talking with Thomas Pock. Is it possible that Renney might dress seven defensemen given the banged up state of the Ranger blueliners?

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