Wednesday, November 28, 2007

So much for those healthy Rangers

Just when it was safe to assume that the Rangers would be taking on their Atlantic Division rivals with a fully healthy roster tomorrow night, injury news has broken from Rangers' camp. Sean Avery will miss the next couple of weeks after undergoing wrist surgery today. The surgery was routine arthroscopic surgery to clean out and fix up some minor problems that were nagging him throughout the season. After taking a Brendan Shanahan shot to the wrist in the Tampa game, Avery found himself unable to shoot a puck at Monday's practice, took a CAT scan yesterday and had or is having surgery today.

What this means is that the lovably poorly performing Marcel Hossa stays in the lineup tomorrow, and Ryan Callahan is definitely ready to go. Hossa will most likely take a third line spot with Chris Drury and Callahan, with Petr Prucha moving up to play with Scott Gomez and Shanahan on the second line. First and fourth lines remain the same, as does the defense pairings, even with Marek Malik being declared ready for game action.

The Rangers are a better team with Avery on the ice, regardless of what people think of him. Aside from his irritating, sometimes childish behavior, the man has offensive ability, kills penalties and brings a team together. It's too bad we'll be without him for a tough stretch of games.

In a league wide note, the Philadelphia Flyers were handed their fourth suspension of the year yesterday, after Scott Hartnell received a two game suspension for his hit on a defenseless Andrew Alberts the other night. I have preached it before, but something has to be done about all of these dangerous hits. Zdeno Chara needed to step in and fight someone after that, even though Hartnell was thrown out. A big hit has to be thrown by anyone to a top Philly player. It doesn't have to be dirty, clean would be better actually. I'm not advocating any kind of goon tactics, but players need to step in.

Tomorrow's game should be another fun one, although it seems like every other game is against the Islanders. I'll check in if I hear anything new.

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