Injuries cause Rangers lineup shuffle
No call-ups planned from Hartford as White and Christensen are set to play
By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com
The Rangers were back at practice Saturday afternoon at the MSG Training Center minus two of their veteran star players, winger Marian Gaborik and team captain Chris Drury, who both suffered injuries in Friday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Gaborik, wearing a New York Yankees hat and with his left arm in a sling, was present at practice, while Drury stayed home. Gaborik is expected to miss two-to-four weeks of action with a separated shoulder; and Drury will be out six weeks after suffering a fracture to the same finger he broke during training camp.
“It’s frustrating, definitely,” said Gaborik. “It is what it is. I just have to stay positive and make sure I do whatever I need to make it better.”
|Rangers forward Marian Gaborik's absence from the lineup might be reduced by a medical procedure that can help speed up the healing in his shoulder.|
Gaborik, who led the Rangers with 42 goals a year ago, suffered the shoulder injury when boarded by Toronto’s Colby Armstrong. He was shaken up at first, but then realized how much he was really hurt when he tried to take part in the ensuing power play.
“It was a hit from behind, for sure,” said Gaborik. “I tried to stay out for the power play, but it was getting worse and worse. I got the puck and at one point tried to make a play, but I knew something’s wrong, not just a little bruise.”
Drury, who was playing in his first game of the season on Friday, fractured his left index finger in a different spot then he originally broke the same finger at the start of training camp. His injury occurred in a freak collision with teammate Michal Rozsival.
“It’s unbelievable to me, it’s the same finger but a different part,” said Rangers head coach John Tortorella. “I just worry about him because he is just fit to be tied.”
To add to the Rangers’ injury concerns, alternate captain Vinny Prospal is now slated to undergo exploratory knee surgery next Tuesday. Depending upon what the doctors find, and what needs to be done to correct any damage, it will be determined afterwards how long Prospal -- who has yet to play this season -- will be missing from the lineup.
Saturday did produce some good news on the injury front as Erik Christensen, who sat out Friday due to a sore groin, took part in the entire practice. Following the workout, Christensen said he felt better, but added “it’s a day to day thing so every day we just see how it goes.”
“We need him,” Tortorella said of Christensen. “As far as I’m concerned, unless someone tells me something different, he’s healthy.”
Tortorella added that no call-ups from the Hartford Wolf Pack were expected prior to Monday’s game at The Garden vs. the Colorado Avalanche. The head coach expects that Christensen should be able to play and that he, and veteran Todd White, will be in the lineup taking the places of Gaborik and Drury on Monday.
“Obviously this is not the way you want to come into the lineup,” said White, a healthy scratch the first three games of the season. “But I just have to go out and do what’s asked of me, whatever role it is. I am just excited for the opportunity.”
Tortorella stated that he has an idea of how his line combinations will look for Monday’s game, but that he will first test them out in practice on Sunday before committing to anything.