Over the past few years, fans can say that the New York Rangers have been quite lucky when dealing with the injury bug. Sometimes it affects your team the entire year, sometimes it doesn’t even crawl your way.
Just seven games into the season, and the Rangers are already hammered with injuries sustained by star players. Captain Ryan Callahan is currently sidelined with a broken thumb, Carl Hagelin is out while he still recovers from his shoulder surgery and not to mention goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who has been this team’s rock for the past several years. Lundqvist is out with what is believed to be a groin injury, but the team hasn’t said much when it comes to his “minor issue.”
Oh, we almost forgot Rick Nash, who is currently sitting in New York dealing with his second concussion of 2013. This is a HUGE loss for the Rangers, considering that they brought him in last summer for his much needed offensive capabilities. In his first season with the Rangers, he had 21 goals and 21 assists totaling 42 points in 44 games played. He missed four games due to his first concussion. The rugged forward has 592 career points in 721 games played. It’s obvious he has the offense for this League, but is he damaged goods?
Considering that mostly every Rangers’ representative has kept their mouths shut, there is obviously something wrong with the status of Nash. Either his headaches and other symptoms have remained the same, or they have gotten worse, which wouldn’t be too beneficial for the Rangers given their quality of play at the moment.
Many have speculated that Nash could perhaps turn into the likes of former NYR defenseman Michael Sauer. Who hasn’t played a game since 2011 when he banged his head on the ice resulting from a hit by Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf. The Rangers said Sauer will most likely never play again, which is sad and disappointing because he could have been a vital part of this roster.
So, who will fill the void while Nash remains injured? Well, Glen Sather and his masterful staff have called up the likes of Chris Kreider and Brandon Mashinter. Kreider will take top line minutes along-side Derek Stepan and Brad Richards, and Mashinter will bring the team much needed grit and toughness, which is important when it comes to surviving the season.
What if things were to get REALLY bad for this team? Who’s record currently sits at 2-5-0, and hasn’t really put up much of a fight in those 5 losses? Let’s say the Rangers are sitting at 2-8-0 when Tuesday rolls around. Not a good record by any stretch of the imagination. What would Sather be forced to do? He wouldn’t fire Vigneault, because that certainly is not the solution. Perhaps make a trade? It’s possible.
Plus, it has to be considered that if Nash’s concussion problems linger, we could see him out of New York come this season’s end.
These questions remain unanswered, as Ranger fans and the entire city of New York wait to see what the future has in store for the Blueshirts.