Just when Ranger fans thought it was safe to have a glimmer of hope again for the remainder of the season partially because of the improved results of the team and faltering of the teams above them in the standings, it all comes crashing back to reality. I take you back a couple of months to an incident that occurred during practice in which when practicing breakaways Marian Gaborik went in on Henrik Lundqvist and the end result was a Lundqvist skate to Marian's thigh which resulted in stitches, missed games and a follow-up injury from favoring the leg.
This lead's me to today's course of events where in practice for some G-d forsaken reason Torts thought it was a good idea to have Wade Redden out there defending Gaborik in practice. Gaborik drives to the net and in trying one his patented desperate poke-checks (instead of actually taking the body), Redden got his stick in the skates of Gaborik sending him awkwardly into the crease causing a collision between the two franchise players we have. The results aren't fully clear at this point, but the initial reports appear to be that Gaborik's skate clipped Hank in the back of the leg requiring stitches and making him doubtful for at least this weekend's games while Gaborik skated off gingerly favoring his all too well documented bad hip.
As I said the immediate results are unknown but the signs are not looking good. The speculation is that Auld would start if Hank is out and due to the magnitude of pressure in these games and Torts affinity for Veterans he thinks he can trust that Valliquette would be the goalie called up to serve as the backup. More intriguing is the speculation that if Hank does miss the rest of the regular season because of the placement of the cut that it would be Vally who would start the final two games of the season against the flyers. Asked about it Torts is reported to have said, "We will cross that bridge when we get there and I don't want to speculate before we know for sure what is going on in the room, Vally has got a lot of success against Philly in the past and we all know this can't be about ego's but only about our best players needing to step up."
In other news that has been floating out there of the KHL moves the Rangers could look to make as db cited this morning in Zherdev which I agree is probably a ploy by the agent to increase buzz about his client in the NHL circles another former Ranger who was all in all underappreciated while he was here is interested in coming back for the stretch run. That's right, none other than number 68. I for one have to wonder if Gabby's injury has any chance of limiting him in terms of playing or his effectiveness if that wouldn't intensify the desire on both sides to see if Jagr can have another stretch run like he did a few years ago and lift this team over the hump to make the playoffs. When asked about the speculation Torts said, "Not to diminish what the guys in the room are trying to do, but we all know what he did when it was time for the best players to step up and if the organization can get one right and get him in here with the injuries to Cally and Aves it would certainly help."
All of this means th Kool-Aid can go back in the cabinet and the liquor comes back out. The consolation out of this is it means we could creep back up some in the lottery probably to 5-6. Bring on Nino.
Update: With Rick Carpinello's news out of Tampa the Rangers might get a free two points tomorrow despite this news. Check out his story here. http://tinyurl.com/ykrewtc