The New York Rangers released plenty of information regarding their long list of injured players today, so here goes nothing....
Steve Eminger: Eminger left Saturday's game against the Phoenix Coyotes in the second period after separating his shoulder on a hard hit that he took into the boards. Head coach John Tortorella said today that Eminger will miss eight to ten weeks with the injury, but he will not require surgery, per Andrew Gross.
That's yet another top seven defenseman out of the lineup for quite a while with an injury of some sort, and that is really upsetting for Steve on a personal note, as this officially eliminates him from participating in the Winter Classic on January 2.
Michael Sauer: John Tortorella also said today after practice that defenseman Michael Sauer is nowhere near returning and has not been around the team much since suffering a concussion several games ago. That's not good news for the Rangers, who rely on Sauer to fill an important spot on the second defensive pairing. They've been without him before, though, so they'll have to battle through it yet again.
Marc Staal: Some good news on defense is that Marc Staal skated for the first time in practice today wearing a red jersey, as opposed to the yellow "non-contact" sweater he's previously worn for the past couple of weeks. He hasn't been cleared for full physical contact just yet, but it is widely speculated that he will be sooner rather than later.
Of the players on the list of injuries, Staal is obviously the most vital to the team. To have him now recovering at a rapid rate is extremely pleasant news for the team, especially with both Eminger and Sauer planning on being out for quite a while.
Here's a thought to ponder... When Staal returns, should the Rangers strip Dan Girardi of the alternate captain's "A" and return it to Marc, or should Danny keep it for the remainder of the season? I say leave it with number 5.
Wojtek Wolski: According to the coach, forward Wojtek Wolski is just a week to ten days from returning to the lineup.
Recalls: The Rangers have recalled both Stu Bickel and Tim Erixon from the Connecticut Whale of the AHL with Eminger definitely out for tomorrow's game against the New Jersey Devils, and Jeff Woywitka (ankle) iffy as of right now. I'd expect to see both in the lineup.
* As a side note, my credentials for All-Star weekend in January have been confirmed, so I will be bringing you live coverage from the locker rooms and behind-the-scenes at the end of January just as I did last year. That, in addition to my trip to Philadelphia for the Winter Classic, will be an exciting way to kick-off the new year.