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Ryan McDonagh out for Wednesday’s game

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The Rangers captain didn’t practice today and has been ruled out for Wednesday due to an abdominal strain.

NHL: New York Islanders at New York Rangers Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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.

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.

UPDATE
It appears that David Desharnais will remain a healthy scratch. Paul Carey is expected to stay in the lineup.