The Rangers have an injury management problem

January 23, 2018, by
henrik lundqvist

Robert Sabo/NYDN

When the news about Kevin Shattenkirk’s torn meniscus broke, it took a while for the full brunt of the news to digest. The Rangers would now be without a top pairing defenseman in addition to a top line winger (Chris Kreider) for an extended period of time. They weren’t playing well with both of them in the lineup, and, thus far, haven’t looked good with them out of the lineup.

However that’s actually not the worst of it. The management of Shattenkirk’s injury is another in a long list of injuries that the Blueshirts have mismanaged, that have put players’ health at risk. Shattenkirk had his injury from the start of the season, which means the organization knew about it and allowed him to play through the tear with some pain shots. Part of this is on Shatty as well, but this goes beyond this singular case.

Let’s go back to the Mika Zibanejad concussion, which is a serious issue. Zibanejad suffered the concussion on a hit from Darren Helm on November 24. He wasn’t out of the lineup until November 30. He played another two games before sitting out eight games (two and a half weeks). The Blueshirts blamed this on delayed onset of concussion symptoms. But that could be a one-off case, right?

How about two years ago. Dan Girardi is in the middle of one of the worst seasons as a defenseman in recent memory. Even his staunchest supporters are questioning his play. It was discovered in December that he was playing with a cracked kneecap. Alain Vigneault stated it was a matter of pain management for Girardi. However, watching his play, it was much more than that. But hey, that’s on Girardi, right?

What about the life threatening injury to Henrik Lundqvist on January 31, 2015 against Carolina? That’s when he took a puck to the throat in a freak play. Lundqvist stayed in the game. He was at risk of suffering a stroke when he kept playing, something the team should have known. Despite his stubbornness to stay in the game, the club should have taken him out. That’s not even the worst part, because he played a full game two days later before he was finally yanked from the lineup. Even if you want to pin that on Hank, the team doctors should know the potential side effects of something as serious as a puck to the throat.

These are muddy waters that the Rangers are treading with their injury management. You could excuse one or two of these incidents as one-off occurrences. But four? Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And the Rangers have a fire with how they deal with significant injuries. It hasn’t burned them yet, but it will at some point.

Categories : Injuries


  1. Richter1994 says:

    I was at the Carolina game as Henrik got hurt right in front of me. It was shocking to see him not only stay in that game but PLAY THE NEXT ONE as well.

    I agree Dave, there has to be a full investigation on how they diagnose and treat injured players. The “excuse” that they leave it to the players’ discretion, in professional sports where they have every medical resource possible, is an incredibly stupid statement and stance to take. Complete cop out.

    • Walt says:

      “Ryan McDonagh’s Rumored Trade Is The Most Important Event In Jeff Gorton’s Tenure”

      Very good article on this subject, on the Blueshirt Banter site. I’m neutral on this subject, I like Mac Truck very much, but the team has got to listen to offers that secure the future for us long term.

      There is more to this story than we are led to believe. No one has stated this, but maybe Ryan wants out after his bud Step, and or Girardi have been let go. That’s my thought, but I could be dead wrong again!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Richter1994 says:

        Hey bro. I’m hearing that teams are hot for him and given the past deals for D men, McD should bring back a nice haul with a year left on a very team friendly contract.

        Rangers have been scouting the Leafs like crazy. Makes perfect sense. Travis Yost wrote an article earlier this month saying that the Leafs need a top 4 badly. They have the chips to make a move like this.

        I would love Trouba but it appears like that if he is dealt then it will not be until after this season. Nylander or Marner and a first from the Leafs would do just fine.

        • Jerry says:

          Hey Richter

          I am HORRIBLE at trade speculation but I doubt Toronto is trading Nylander. I could see a McD for Marner. That’s fair for both clubs.

          • Richter1994 says:

            Yeah, I agree Jerry my friend. Nylander is a pipe dream but Marner is a definite possibility, along with a high pick or 2.

            • Rich S says:

              would it be worth it for us to throw in a #1 draft choice since where we pick is not going to get us a nylander……and we have got 5 top prospects on the way in chytil, andersson, day, ronning and igor….?

              • James1090 says:

                Other than Toronto I think Winnipeg is a team the Rangers should talk to. They have a lot of young talented forwards that the Rangers might be interested in.

              • Richter1994 says:

                I would think that Nylander is off limits.

              • HARLEMBLUES says:

                What? You so wouldn’t be my GM. That’s what we did in the St.Louis deal give up to much. Do you know what we gave up to get Yandle. Duclair, a 1st, 2nd and another player that escapes me. McD gets a young stud to be, a number one and a three at least. What did the Devils get for Larsson? Taylor Hall. McD will bring back plenty. The Rangers must be smart and the rebuild will be young and skilled. Nash trade, Grabner trade, Staal trade, Holden trade. Nash and Grabner can be resigned like the Yankees did with Chapman. Be smart and play the cards right Gorton.

            • Fotiu is God says:

              Regarding what’s reportedly coming our way, Mitch Marner has terrific upside. He’s quite gifted; and moreover, seems to wield solid, three-zone smarts.

              But his game’s tailed off of late. Noticeably.

              Nylander has a great shot. Yet Babcock doesn’t appear confident enough to dress him as a regular.

              My concern is that both Leafs are slight of build. Not at all physical. And both are peripheral players. Eddie Johnstone and Mark Pavelich they ain’t.

              Not sure about trading our bedrock D-man for a pair of danglers.

              • Richter1994 says:

                Hey bro. Ranger scouts at every Leafs’ game so I “assume” that the young forwards would be on the Rangers’ radar in a trade for McD.

                I mentioned that Travis Yost wrote an article earlier this month that the Leafs’ will be and should be looking for a top vet D man to stabilize the back end.

                And Toronto is not too far from Wisconsin as McD has a modified trade clause.

                Seems like a fit.

                Rangers, as you know, need to up their skill level. Nylander or Marner would do that, no question. And then I would want at least a first if not more on top of it.

      • Jerry says:

        Hi Walt.

        I’m not neutral on trading McD. I have been vocal for a very long time that this is the year to trade some important assets and retool going forward. Nash, Grabs, Zucc and McD are high on my list to move for a combo of picks, good YOUNG prospects and maybe a young NHL player. DD and Holden, sure get what you can for those two as well.

        This is THE year to make wonderful headway without giving up some of our younger players.

        • Walt says:


          I have to agree, but the thought of losing Mac Truck hurts. The story says Nylander, and a #1 for our guy, and that I could live with in a heartbeat!!!!!!!!

          This group of vets have taken us so far, and it’s not far enough. I have always been an advocate for the young players, like you said, this is the year to take that leap of faith. Ryan isn’t having a banner year by his standards, so go for it!!!!!

          • Jerry says:

            I’d be shocked to see Toronto give up a 1st AND a young quality player like Nylander or Marner. Please remember Toronto has REAL front office people Lamoriello and Shanahan with Dubas and Hunter as assistant GM’s.

            McD has been hampered by who has been playing on his right side. He’s a first pair D-man on the Leafs.

            I still can’t see the Leafs trading Nylander. Both Marner and Nylander are right handed shots. Marner can play a bit of center but is a right winger with a lot of offensive upside.

            • James1090 says:

              I could see them moving one of them because over the next 2 years they will need to sign Matthews, Nylander and Marner. That’s going to get very expensive.

              • Richter1994 says:

                Yes, the Leafs will have cap issues with all these guys, so a trade like this makes sense for them. Addresses a definite need for them with all their young D men.

      • wwpd says:

        that’s not really captain material, wanting out just because two vets he played with got traded.

  2. Andy says:

    Gaborik played in the 2012 play offs with a torn rotator abs Torts complained but his performance…this is not new. You’re spot on

  3. agentsmith says:

    nash hit by lucic returned after 2 games, out the next 17.

  4. Richter1994 says:

    Maybe Dave just should have said “The Rangers Have A Management Problem” and leave it at that, lol. That covers it all.

    • CTfan says:

      You beat me to the same post. 😉 But, at least we get to see the gum chewing clown double shift Holland and Desharnais to show what a genius he is.

  5. doubled says:

    How much of this is on AV? Is he telling the players to take an aspirin and play we need you? Just another nail in his coffin IMO!!

  6. tanto says:

    I don’t think the problem is necessarily any worse than with any other club, but I take issue with the coach. If he deems the player’s play to be below expectations and he knows of an underlying injury that could be a contributing factor, than it is his obligation to sit the player — especially when this occurs during non-crunch time.

  7. Ray says:

    Yes, Dave, this is a problem, but it is not just the Rangers. It is most sports teams.

    The problem is twofold. It puts players at unnecessary risk. However, it also is counter-productive from a winning perspective. For example, compare Kevin Shattenkirk and Steven Kampfer. The statement that Shattenkirk is the better player is overly simplistic. Yes, if both are healthy, Shatty is better. However, if Kampfer is healthy and Shatty is banged up, things are murkier. It depends on how banged up. Teams routinely draw the line at “if he’s healthy enough to play”, but that isn’t right. A guy can be able to play but not to be able to play that well. And even if Shatty is healthy enough to be a tiny bit better than Kampfer, the payoff from rest is higher.

    One point where some may disagree, but I think Tanner Glass played well against Ottawa last year. And I think the secret was that he was the only skater on the ice who was 100% healthy.

  8. bernmeister says:

    AV is a big problem, gotta go
    Never acceptable to risk player health and long term team interests by not shutting a guy down.