It’s been a whirlwind 24-hour time span for the New York Rangers. It started yesterday with news that the team waived Sean Avery. At noon today, we’ll know if anyone put a claim on him (doubt it) and where the agitator goes from here.
Dale Weise fell victim to waivers as the Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks claimed the young forward. Sad to see, but Weise didn’t have a place on this team and others in the pipeline (Hagelin, Bourque to name a few) are on the horizon and, quite frankly, are better players.
Follow that with buzz surrounding Stu Bickel and Brendan Bell being placed on waivers as well. Are they going down to the AHL? Is something bigger on the horizon?
Well today we’ve been given a bit more clarification as to what exactly is going on today. And it includes ominous news about Marc Staal.
News has come out that stud defenseman Marc Staal could be out “a month” based on his lingering headaches. Larry Brooks of the NY Post has more from GM Glen Sather regarding Staal’s injury status:
“Doctors have said that it could be a week, but it could also be a month,” Sather said of the No. 1 defenseman, who has been receiving treatment back home. “I wish we had something absolute, but we don’t.
This news has prompted the Rangers to ramp up their search for help on defense and a name resurfaces that, honestly, shouldn’t but when you’re in need of help all avenues must be explored. That name is Paul Mara.
A few weeks ago I wrote how Paul Mara is not the answer for the Rangers. He’s 32, injury-prone the past 2 seasons, and not exactly the fastest skater in the world. My opinion still hasn’t changed, but given the circumstances, he may be the only viable option available. Final roster decisions across the NHL do occur today. Unless someone becomes available last minute, look for Mara to be given serious consideration.
The other big news regarding defense for the Rangers is Tim Erixon, cut earlier in the preseason, making his return to the team. Torts hasn’t been impressed with Bell or Bickel this preseason and must feel a rookie right on the cusp of being ready is better than 2 mediocre defenseman. The fan in you is happy to see Erixon on the opening day roster. The realist in me is worried whether or not he’s ready to be thrown in the fire.
Lastly, the forward lines have been set for Friday’s 1:00PM game against the L.A. Kings and there are notable changes. Dan Rosen gives us the scoop:
Dubinsky – Richards – Gaborik
Fedotenko – Anisimov – Callahan
Wolski – Stepan – Zuccarello
Rupp – Boyle – Prust
The biggest change is seeing the Duballahanisimov line broken up. Wojtek Wolski, who started camp looking like a lock for the LW spot on the top line, moves down to play with Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello, a tandem he developed chemistry with last season. Dubinsky slides up to get top-line minutes along side Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik and, depending on how he produces, may never leave that spot. As Dan Rosen pointed out to me on Twitter, Torts likes what he’s seen from that top line and will get first crack on Friday.
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