Sadly, this is not a joke.
Head coach John Tortorella switched the offensive lines up in practice again today (insert joke here), and in the process moved Erik Christensen up to the first line, where he centered Marian Gaborik and Wojtek Wolski. So, in place of the All-Star center in Brad Richards that was signed for an arm and a leg this summer, $925,000 Erik Christensen finds himself on the top line despite being absent from every game he has played in so far this season. Try to make logic out of that one.
Erik Christensen is to John Tortorella as Aaron Voros was to Tom Renney. That's a reference you have to go back a few years to understand, but for those of you that do, it should make perfect sense. See Voros was Renney's favorited player, and even though he contributed close to nothing on a nightly basis, he would still find his way into the lineup over, say, Petr Prucha.
With Christensen, not only does Tortorella give him an unearned roster spot, but he also plays him on the first line and on the powerplay.
Maybe this is Tortorella's response to the banner that read "Send Torts to the Whale" last night at MSG, because he's giving Whale players royalty treatment right now. Avery wouldn't change this team's record, but I know he is a better player than both Christensen and Newbury, and probably would even give more than Wojtek Wolski. But this is Torts' team, not mine.
As for the other lines:
Wolski - Christensen - Gaborik
Dubinsky - Richards - Callahan
Fedotenko - Boyle - Prust
Stepan - Anisimov - Newbury
Derek Stepan and Artem Anisimov on the fourth line while Wojtek Wolski and Erik Christensen are on the first.
I give up.
NOTE: D Mike Del Zotto did not skate in practice today. No word why yet.