Archive for Injuries
It is not time to sound the alarm just yet, but Ryan McDonagh appears to be out for tonight’s game against the Flyers. McD0nagh did not skate today at the morning skate, and the defense pairings appeared to be set without him.
Luckily the Flyers are not as good as the Penguins, but they still have some great talent that can burn that right side of the defense. It’s amazing how much of a hole McDonagh leaves in the lineup. Hopefully this isn’t serious, and is just a precaution to not rush him back in meaningless games.
Per Dan Rosen, the Rangers are targeting a March 25th-ish return for Henrik Lundqvist, who has been out for a week with a lower body injury. The Rangers are clearly taking their time with their All World goalie, as they will need him to be at his absolute best for them to make a run in the playoffs this year.
There’s no real gamble with this approach, and it makes perfect sense that the Rangers are going this route. They are essentially locked into the WC1 spot. It would take a ridiculous run to get to the top-three in the Metro, or an epic collapse to miss the playoffs all together. At this point, they may as well rest their most important player.
As the month of March progresses, less focus is on the Rangers and their playoff matchup —seemingly locked into that WC1 spot— and more about the lineup once the injuries clear up. Rick Nash’s and Michael Grabner’s returns to the lineup meant Matt Puempel and Brandon Pirri were sent to the press box. That much we knew.
But what happens when Jesper Fast returns to the lineup? This is something that few want to discuss for fear of the answer. There are only three realistic choices for Alain Vigneault to make. One of Tanner Glass, Jimmy Vesey, or Pavel Buchnevich is coming out of the lineup when Fast returns.
The injury list keeps growing. All-World goalie Henrik Lundqvist will be out 2-3 weeks with a lower body injury. This is the same injury that kept him out of Thursday’s loss to Carolina. Lundqvist, while not having the best season, was returning to form over the last two months and seemed to be ready for another playoff run.
Luckily for the Rangers, Antti Raanta has had a stellar season. He will be the starter while Lundqvist is out. The schedule does not favor the Rangers though, as there are four back-to-backs coming up. It’s assumed that Magnus Hellberg will be recalled to be the backup during this time. He may even get a game or two. Update: He’s been recalled on an emergency basis.
Not the best time for the Rangers injury list to grow, but at least they have a competent backup. And at least it’s not April.
Per Steve Zipay, the lines for tonight are: Pavel Buchnevich-Mika Zibanejad-JT Miller; Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello; Jimmy Vesey-Kevin Hayes-Michael Grabner: Tanner Glass-Oscar Lindberg-Brandon Pirri
Fast has been one of the Rangers’ more steady forwards on the bottom six. But the Rangers certainly have the depth to deal with this injury. I don’t expect them to make a trade in response. I’d expect them to keep Matt Puempel in the lineup, and perhaps recall Pavel Buchnevich.
Update: Girardi will be out ten days to two weeks. Steven Kampfer has been recalled.
Original Post: The Rangers have announced that Dan Girardi will be out tonight, dealing with recurring effects of his ankle injury. With Kevin Klein still out, that leaves the Rangers with just five defensemen. Something is coming to address this, in my opinion.
My guess is that Jeff Gorton is working the phones for a trade, but has a defenseman form Hartford in mind. If nothing materializes, he will file the paperwork for an emergency call up. Just my guess. Or, of course, Klein could play.
Some bad news for the Rangers, who can’t seem to stay healthy. Kevin Hayes is out 2-3 weeks with a lower body injury. Hayes was injured in Sunday’s win over the Red Wings, and was seen with a brace on his left leg and limping.
The loss of Hayes is a pretty big one. However as far as injuries go, the timing on this one is as good as it can be. The Rangers have a pair of games this week, then have five days off for the All Star Game. The schedule gets rough after the ASG though, with two in a row and then every other day for a while.
If the time table for Hayes stays on the shorter end, then the Rangers will luck out, as he won’t miss as many games as he could have, if he were hurt earlier in the season.
The Rangers are finally starting to get healthy, per the notes from practice yesterday. To summarize:
- Pavel Buchnevich and Rick Nash will return to the lineup tonight. With Nicklas Jensen already sent down, one of Matt Puempel, Brandon Pirri, or Marek Hrivik will sit so both can play (unless Jesper Fast can’t play).
- Fast has the flu. AV wasn’t 100% he will be good to go tonight.
- Mika Zibanejad was skating in full yesterday. He will not play this weekend, and will practice again in full on Monday. Alain Vigneault hinted that it’s a matter of getting Zibanejad back in game shape.
- Marc Staal is likely not playing this weekend. That likely means the same defense pairings tonight and tomorrow.
With the recent news that Marc Staal is going to be out indefinitely with post concussion symptoms, the Rangers find themselves short one of their top-four defensemen. Whether you agree Staal should have been in the top-four is a bit irrelevant at the moment, since he was in the top-four regardless. This is going to force Alain Vigneault and possibly Jeff Gorton to adjust if this team is going to make a run at a Stanley Cup.
In fact, it has already forced AV to make a major change to his defense, taking Dan Girardi off the top pair for Brady Skjei. Adam Clendening was naturally in the lineup, and was put on his off-side with Kevin Klein. Dan Girardi moved down to play with Nick Holden, who moved back to his natural side on the left. I personally did not watch the game, but from what I’ve heard, Clendo and Skjei both had strong games in their roles.