It seems that the retiring of Brian Leetch’s jersey might not be the big story from tonight’s Rangers-Thrashers game. No, it isn’t even the one-game suspension of Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk. Instead, it appears the Garden boo-birds might have to find a new target for their wrath.

According to blog reports from Sam Weinman of the “Journal News” and Steve Zipay of “Newsday”, Marek Malik’s equipment was not in his locker at the Rangers practice facility in Greenburgh, NY. When asked about Malik, coach Tom Renney was cryptic with his answers. He referred to the situation as an “internal matter”. In response to questions about a potential Malik suspension, Renney’s response was, “That is to be determined”. As for the question of Malik’s status with the team, Renney answered, “He’s a Ranger”.  Writing on his blog, John Dellapina said that Malik has not been placed on waivers so a potential trip to Hartford is not on the table at this time.  However, the Rangers might wait until after tonight’s ceremony.  Given the way the news has spread, I can’t think they would hold off on putting Malik on waivers because they did not want to ruin tonight.
The ironic part of this whole equation is that Malik had one of his best games of the season against the Thrashers on Tuesday night. With Malik on his way out, Paul Mara steps into the lineup. If the Rangers do not get an NHL defenseman in return, they will most likely wait until after the All-Star break before making a move. If they look to recall a blueliner from Hartford, don’t expect it to be Ivan Baranka because he suffered a shoulder injury in a fight recently and I do not know how severe the injury is/was.
If the Rangers want to recall Thomas Pock they have to run him through waivers with the Blueshirts having to pay half of his remaining salary if he were claimed. The same holds true for Andrew Hutchinson. David Liffiton is just returning to action after suffering from a concussion so it is unlikely he would be recalled. The most likely defenseman to be recalled would be Michael Sauer.

What does all this mean? It means that the Rangers will be moving Malik in exchange for a defenseman or will be makinga second deal to bring in help on defense. Either way, it could mean that the Rangers would have to trade one of their prospects in order to either trade Malik (for a defenseman) or acquire another defenseman.

Here is some food for thought. The St. Louis Blues run the risk of losing Christian Backman and/or Barret Jackman at the end of the season. Could John Davidson be willing to take on Malik and a prospect(s) instead of losing one of his defenseman for nothing at the end of the season?

The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a state of transition with John Ferguson, Jr. out and Cliff Fletcher in as interim GM. Would Fletcher look to acquire a prospect(s) and Malik while moving one of his defensmen? While Tomas Kaberle would bring a lot to the ice, he also brings three years and nearly $13 million as well. However, Hal Gill has only one year left on a deal that pays him $2.1 million.

Just some food for thought.

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