Dec 26, 2011, 12:17 PM EST
These are good times for the New York Rangers.
Prior to the Christmas break, the Rangers moved into top spot in the Atlantic Division, a position that’s been monopolized by the Flyers and Penguins this season.
Now, according to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, the Blueshirts are about to get healthier.
Wojtek Wolski, out since Oct. 27 with a sports hernia, is expected to be ready by the end of this week. Marc Staal, who hasn’t played since Feb. 22 after suffering a concussion, could be cleared for contact this week and could make his season debut within the next two weeks (PHT notes: Yes, that’s a lot of “coulds”.)
Brooks also notes that Michael Sauer, sidelined since Dec. 5 with post-concussion syndrome, “seems to be improving” — though the organization hasn’t offered anything official regarding his health.
These are big developments on two fronts. One, New York is getting bodies back as the Winter Classic draws closer — which is in direct contrast to the Flyers, who have been ravaged by injury (though they did just get Claude Giroux back in the lineup).
Two, it presents some questions for head coach John Tortorella. Getting Wolski back will likely push New York’s extra forwards — Sean Avery and Erik Christensen, neither of whom play much — deeper into oblivion. Avery’s already expressed frustration over sitting out and Christensen can’t be happy with his role, having only dressed in four of New York’s 12 games this month.
There’s also the question of when to get Staal back into the lineup. He’s said he’d like to return in time for the Winter Classic, but neither he nor the team wants to risk a potential recovery setback. That said, the Rangers blueline is rather thin with Steve Eminger out (separated shoulder) and Jeff Woywitka on the limp. In their last game before the Christmas break, Torts went almost exclusively with four D as Michael Del Zotto, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh and Anton Stralman all played over 24 minutes in a 4-2 win over Philly.
- Video: Ovechkin becomes sixth fastest player to 400 goals in Caps win 3
- TGIF: Five NHL games to watch this weekend 14
- Assault charges against Varlamov dropped 31
- Carlyle on HBO presence: ‘It’s not normal what we’re living right now’ 5
- Orpik: First days after Thornton attack were ‘miserable’ 69
- Video: Dustin Brown ejected for kneeing, Tomas Hertl won’t return (update) 64
- No supplemental discipline for Caps’ Wilson 32
- Habs healthy scratch Briere for first time this season 7
- Chiarelli says he’s not trading Marchand 21
- Schenn to play tonight; Oates maintains Wilson hit was ‘totally clean’ 54
- Updated: NHL suspends Thornton 15 games for Orpik attack (155)
- Reports: Thornton will appeal 15-game suspension (107)
- Lucic addresses fight video, says he’s ‘disgusted and outraged’ by Vancouver (103)
- Cam Neely questions length of Thornton’s suspension (78)
- Video: Penguins defeat Leafs, Bortuzzo called for illegal hit to head (71)