According to various news reports, Marek Malik’s absence is a result of his snubbing coach Tom Renney following the Rangers 4-0 victory over Atlanta on Tuesday night.  As is Renney’s custom, he shakes hands and congratulates all of his players after a win.  On Tuesday night, Malik – obviously miffed over Renney’s on-and-off benchings – refused to shake the coach’s hand.

It is kind of funny (in a bad way) that Malik chose to bite the hand that feeds him rather than shake it given the way Renney has defended the beleaguered blue liner.  Despite being a constant target of the Garden’s boo-birds, Renney has been quick to defend the Unrestricted Free Agent to be.  In fact, Renney even played down Malik’s snit on January 5 when he left the arena after finding out he was scratched against Edmonton.

Jay Greenberg of the “NY Post” wrote that Malik met with Renney prior to practice on Thursday and will meet with again on Monday when the Rangers return to practice following the All Star Game break.

It would be easy for Renney and the Rangers organization to overlook Malik’s actions except for the fact players were quick to call Malik out for his actions.  John Dellapina had the following quote from one of Malik’s unnamed teammates.

“‘It was pretty obvious – a lot of guys saw it,’ one Ranger said of Malik’s snub of Renney. ‘You don’t do that. And you can’t have that. If you do, you don’t have a team.’”

Players and coaches being at odds is nothing in the world of sports.  It is as old as sports itself – and is something that can be overcome.  However, when a player starts losing the respect of his teammates then that is when a team has a problem.  Malik had better find a way to mend the rifts between himself, his coach – and more importantly – his teammates.  If he doesn’t Marek Malik will be a man without a hockey team.

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