Defenseman Kevin Klein has been sent back to New York in order to meet with the team's physician, the New York Rangers have announced. Klein injured his left arm in a fluke play in last night's game against the Washington Capitals. Late in the third period, Alexander Ovechkin shot the puck from the neutral zone and hit Klein in the arm.
Klein is an incredibly tough guy, having shrugged off multiple injuries this season including a mangled ear. This injury, presumably, is something a bit less manageable; it's doubtful they send him back home otherwise.
Obviously, losing Klein is not a good thing for any amount of time is not a good thing. There are a few silver linings here for the Rangers, however. The team is off until Saturday, when they play in Buffalo, and then just three games in the next seven days, with only Chicago being a difficult opponent. If there's a stretch to miss some time, then that's the one.
Missing time beyond that, which seems possible, would not be good. But the gap between Klein and Matt Hunwick or Michael Kostka is not nearly as big as most might think. Both Hunwick and Kostka have done a good job the last two years of suppressing opposition shooting opportunities and could do a perfectly adequate job in the sixth spot.
Nonetheless, losing depth is never a good thing, and Klein is a perfectly good third-pairing defenseman in his own right. Let's hope for a speedy recovery.