In the preseason, Wojtek Wolski was slated to be the top line left winger on a line with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik. After having a decent preseason, Wolski played in the first game of the regular season with the Rangers before missing the next four games with a groin injury. The Rangers eventually found a great replacement for him on the top line in Derek Stepan, which leaves Wolski’s status with the Rangers a little bit cloudy. Although he is now likely to slide into Erik Christensen’s spot on the fourth line, coach John Tortorella did not have very nice things to say about Wolski:
We can’t get him out of the tub,” the coach said, despite the fact Wolski practiced yesterday after taking part in the morning skate on Tuesday. Asked whether that meant Wolski was getting hot-tub treatment for the groin, Tortorella said: “I guess.”
This is clearly a shot at Wolski, as it appears that Torts is very frustrated with the winger, and his inability to get back on the ice. Wolski, who did not hear about the coach’s comments, decided to remain silent:
“I’d didn’t hear and I’d rather not know,” Wolski, who has been sidelined with a groin issue since the Oct. 7 opener in Stockholm, said after he remained on the ice doing sprints and extra work following the morning skate preceding last night’s 3-2 overtime victory over the Flames…I hope I get to play the next game,” said Wolski, who played 10:34 in the opener against the Kings while on a line with Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello. “If I can go full out without pain [today], I want to play in Edmonton.”
Wolski appears to be itching to get back into the lineup, but the coach seems to think otherwise. Regardless of what either’s opinion may be, the fact remains that Wolski, although skilled, may not have a spot among the top nine forwards when he comes back. The top three lines have either looked good this year or looked good last year (Pack line), so it is unlikely that Tortorella will break them up. If that’s the case, then the fourth line is where Wolski will wind up. It’s either that or the press box.