Following Rangers' practice on Wednesday, it appears the team is about as healthy as it's been the past few weeks or so. Ryan McDonagh, the team's top defensemen, who missed the las five games of the regular season nursing a shoulder injury, declared himself 100 percent healthy, and is a go for Thursday's Game 1 against Philadelphia, which of course, is rather big for New York.
#NYR Vigneault on McDonagh's return to lineup, leadership on/off ice: "Him just being himself is an influence on others."— Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) April 16, 2014
Possibly even bigger than McDonagh's clean bill of health—which was more of a foregone conclusion—is news coming out of the Flyers' camp that Steve Mason will not play tomorrow night, after sustaining an undisclosed injury in the team's second-to-last game of the season against the Penguins.
Mason not making trip to NY, but he could join the team if Flyers feel he is ready to play in Game 2 on Sun.— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) April 16, 2014
In Mason's place will be Ray Emery, who in his one start against the Rangers this season allowed four goals in a loss. While Flyers head coach Craig Berube has not disclosed Mason's injury, which has been termed under the ambiguous "upper-body" category, there's reason to think Mason is dealing with a concussion. While no one has outright called it a concussion, re-watching the play that knocked him out at least makes one speculate that's what Mason might be battling.
The other good news to come out of Rangers practice today is Derick Brassard declared he'll be ready to go in tomorrow night's series opener. After exiting yesterday's practice with an apparent back injury, Brassard was on the ice today, and said he'll be ready to go.
Derick Brassard declares himself 100 percent after #NYR practice and says there's no doubt in his mind that he will play in game 1 tomorrow.— JOHN GIANNONE (@jaygeemsg) April 16, 2014
The last update to provide from today's practice is that Raphael Diaz will likely sit with McDonagh making his return to the lineup. Many assumed the decision would come down to Diaz and John Moore, but Alain Vigneault indicated it will likely be Diaz, who was acquired by the Rangers at the trade deadline, who will be scratched tomorrow night.