Chris Drury will likely return to the Rangers lineup Wednesday when they face the Pittsburgh Penguins. The captain got the green light to return to action on Sunday after the latest X-ray on his left index finger looked clean. He re-broke the same finger injured in training camp during the home opener back in October.
His return means somebody is going to get the boot. The hardworking youngins are safe.
Coach John Tortorella told Andrew Gross of The Record:
“No kids are coming out. This is our captain coming in. Somebody has got to suffer. Somebody has got to come out but it’s not going to be one of the kids.”
Whew. Derek Stepan, Brian Boyle and Artem Anisimov have been great for the Rangers so far this season and rightfully earned their roster spots.
It’s a no brainer then that one of the invisibles will be taking a press box seat. Todd White will likely be scratched first while Erik Christensen toils on the fourth line with momentary sparks of life to get a few stabs at centering Gaborik.
Christensen had no points and no shots on goal in last nights 7-0 route of the Capitals. He has scored three goals in his last fifteen games and has bounced between the fourth and first line faster than you can blink.
Maybe Drury will get the chance he has been pining for to contribute offensively and redeem himself. His numbers have steadily declined since signing with the Rangers in 2007. Torts experimented with him centering Gaborik on opening night but he was injured before anyone could really get a sense of that line’s effectiveness. Or maybe he’ll be easing back into play centering Frolov and Christensen for mini minutes.
Taking out a player to make room for Drury is the easy part. Fitting him in on a line will be the most challenging for Torts. Boyle and Brandon Prust along with Ruslan Fedotenko have been a solid energy generating third line combo. Anisimov, Dubinsky and Callahan are the closest thing to a surefire top line the Rangers have. It’d be tough demoting shining rookie Stepan to the fourth line, which never logs big minutes.
Then of course there’s the issue of Derek Boogaard. The enforcer has a nagging shoulder injury sustained in a scrap with the Senators’ blood flicker Matt Carkner. He’s already missed seven games due to injuries and has been a healthy scratch three times. Boogaard is expected to miss more time with the latest setback. Once he heals, another fourth line shakeup could change the dynamic.
So where to put Drury? (Aside from the penalty kill of course. Hopefully he has a new and improved Luke Skywalker-esque robot hand to withstand the shot blocks and draws.)
About the Author
Written by Margaret DeJesus
I'm a recent college graduate looking for a dream job covering hockey. I've been watching the New York Rangers since my grade school days of VHS and Gordon Bombay's "ducks fly together" speech. While studying journalism at Boston University (COM '10), I wrote for the Daily Free Press, the student newspaper. I worked two summers at the Staten Island Advance, my hometown newspaper, writing city news and features. I've also written CD reviews for Music-Reviewer.com. One of my favorite gigs was interning for hockey analyst extraordinaire Stan Fischler covering the Boston Bruins and attending all their home games in the 2009-2010 season. (Yes, including the crushing defeat against the Flyers in the Eastern Conference playoffs.)