The Rangers will be without their superstar goaltender Henrik Lundqvist for at least one month. Without a doubt the scariest part of that sentence is the phrase "at least", which suggests that the neck injury that Lundqvist suffered in the Rangers' win over the Carolina Hurricanes is far more serious than we all initially thought it was. Of course, most of us were already allowing ourselves to not worry too much about Hank's health when he started (and won) in the Rangers' next start against the Florida Panthers, but apparently the neck injury that the King sustained at the Garden on Saturday is serious enough to put him on the shelf for at least four weeks. This is bad.
There is a report as we sit waiting for Vigneault after practice that Henrik Lundqvist (neck) is out at least one month #NYR ... It's true— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) February 6, 2015
The Rangers play approximately 14 games over the next month. In those 14 games the Blueshirts will have to turn to Cam Talbot to fill in for one of the best goalies in the world. The Rangers also might have to make a move to have someone other than Mackenzie Skapski fill in as the back-up goaltender given the amount of time Hank will miss. Make no mistake, Cam Talbot can and will win hockey games for the Rangers and plenty of them, but the team is going to have to play a hell of a lot better in their own zone and support their new starting goaltender while the King is out of the picture.
The Rangers currently have an open contract slot thanks to Ryan Malone and the Blueshirts mutually agreeing to terminate his deal. Will the Rangers go after a free agent veteran that is currently out of a job or will they move some pieces in a deal and bring in the best player they can find to fill in for a month?
This is the kind of injury that can drastically change things for the Rangers and their playoff hopes, but this is also a long ways away from a death knell. The Rangers are a solid team with Cam Talbot in net and can still win plenty of hockey games. The Blueshirts also have an 8 point lead over the Florida Panthers who are in ninth place in the Eastern Conference.
We'll keep you updated if there any more developments related to this story.
Get well soon, Hank.