The Rangers have desperately missed Scott Gomez's speed and scoring touch over the last five games. They needed shootouts to get a pair of wins before getting routed by Vancouver and Ottawa in their last two contests. He's back in the lineup against the Coyotes on Monday night. Gomez, who was resting a stress fracture in his ankle, needs to help the team find its spark and needs to do it quickly.
After their great October, the Rangers are just 4-5-1 in November and have been held under three goals seven times. Gomez, who was playing on that bad ankle for several weeks, has the ability to jumpstart the offense if he's used correctly. Unfortunately, Tom Renney seems bent on implementing such a strategy. The Rangers will use Brandon Dubinsky between Markus Naslund and Nikolai Zherdev once again tonight, wasting their most talented wingers with a grinding center who hasn't meshed well with them.
Gomez will skate with Chris Drury and Ryan Callahan instead, an odd choice for a player the Blueshirts inked to a seven-year, $50 million contract. They brought Gomez across the river to be a top line player where his creativity and skill could be used to set up wingers like Naslund and Zherdev. The misuse was less pronounced last season because Jaromir Jagr was still on the team, but his absence has made Renney's mishandling of Gomez an unavoidable issue.
It's hardly the only trouble spot on a Ranger team that's increasingly making their record look like a misprint, but it is the most easily remedied.