Steven Kampfer will draw back into the Rangers lineup because the Rangers captain, Ryan McDonagh, is on the shelf with an abdominal strain. He didn’t practice today and has been ruled out for Wednesday’s game against the Hurricanes.
OFFICIAL: Ryan McDonagh will not practice today and will miss tomorrow's game with an abdominal strain. #NYR— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) November 21, 2017
Obviously this is a huge blow to the Blueshirts and hopefully the injury is nothing serious. The Rangers defense without McDonagh doesn’t look very good after the top pair of Brady Skjei and Kevin Shattenkirk. The third pairing in particular leaves a lot to be desired.
Rangers say McDonagh out of practice today with abdominal strain and he will miss tomorrow’s game in Raleigh.— Justin Tasch (@J_Tasch) November 21, 2017
Practice pairs are Skjei-Shattenkirk, Smith-Holden, Staal-Kampfer
Jim Cerny speculated whether or not McDonagh’s abdominal injury is something the captain has been dealing with all season. There have been rumors about McDonagh playing banged up since October. Despite some glaringly bad plays in his own end and the fact that he still doesn’t have a goal, McDonagh is still New York’s best and most valuable defenseman. He currently leads the blue line in possession numbers and he’s picked up a slew of primary assists early this year.
In other news from today’s practice it appears that David Desharnais is back on the Rangers fourth line. He practiced with Boo Nieves and Jimmy Vesey today, replacing Paul Carey in the lineup.
If you’re looking for silver linings here the McDonagh injury provides Brendan Smith an opportunity to make a positive impression on the Rangers coaching staff. Needless to say the start to Smith’s first full season as a Ranger has been more or less a disaster. He needs a good game on Wednesday night in Carolina badly. The good news for the Rangers and Smith is that Carolina has struggled to score goals and create chances this season.
It appears that David Desharnais will remain a healthy scratch. Paul Carey is expected to stay in the lineup.