I think it's because they want to get Ryder out of his slump. He'll still score an occasional goal but not as much as he should be scoring...You can see him involved but there's a definate confidence issue there...I was at the Toronto game and noticed the coaches paying special attention to him, and whenever he'd have his shot saved or mess up a play, he'd look so discouraged and point at the bench.
I also read a quote where he mentioned that lately he doesn't have the same confidence in himself and doesn't beleive he can score, which is why you see him passing it more than shooting lately.
I think he definately misses Higgins. Latendresse has been pretty good at setting him up, but he's no Higgins...
Anyways I can't be the only one who notices that they're putting Ryder out there in almost every situation to try and snap him out of his funk. He hasn't been terrible on the PK but you can really see his confidence shrink with every giveaway.
He's not playing well, but he's not playing lazy either. That being said, I'd switch him with Kovalev but that doesn't seem to in the cards (why is Carbo so against this?)
I think it's simply Carbo wanting to have 2 guys on each line available on the pk. I don't think there's any message involved. If Higgins was around, I assume Ryder wouldn't be used there. You see Kovalev playing some short shifts there with Plekanec, usually at the end of the penalty. He's been adequate so far, I haven't seen any problems. Higgins gives you the breakaway dimension that they miss, but that'll be soon enough.
I say Carbo, but it could be Muller's input for all I know.
He's been playing on the PK for a little while now...I'd say at least 10 or so (pretty much taking Higgins spot with Koivu) and IMO he has done a very good job. Our PK and goaltending is the only thing working right now. Ryder may not be scoring but at least he is helping the team in some ways (*cough*Kovalev/Sammy*cough*).