Originally written on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 10/26/11

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 15: Blake Wheeler #26 of the Boston Bruins fights to retain possession against Michael Sauer #32 of the New York Rangers during the game on September 15, 2009 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

As expected with Brendan Bell being assigned to the Connecticut Whale of the AHL yesterday, defenseman Michael Sauer (shoulder) fully anticipates to play in tomorrow's home opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs, per the Daily News. Sauer has not been in the lineup since October 8 when the team went up against the Anaheim Ducks over in Europe. 

With Marc Staal out and the defensive depth shoddy at the moment, Sauer coming back will make a huge difference. His importance to the club skyrocketed by the end of the season in 2010-11, so he left a big hole on the second pairing while out in the last five. Getting his grit and leadership back in the lineup is certainly going to uplift the spirits of a blue-line that's taken some time to get solidified this year. 

Meanwhile, on offense, head coach John Tortorella will be rolling with a new set of forward lines tomorrow against Toronto. They are as follows:

Fedotenko - Richards - Gaborik

Dubinsky - Stepan - Callahan

Wolski - Boyle - Prust

Newbury - Anisimov - Rupp/Christensen

I like the way the first two top lines have been formed, but the bottom two are a little whacky. Anisimov on the fourth line is a terrible idea and I think he should be swapped with either Boyle or Wolski. You just can't put an up-and-coming player on the fourth line with grinders like that. Sends the wrong message for sure. 

But anyway, Andrew Gross tweeted this picture of the transformed Madison Square Garden ready to go for Thursday's home opener: 


Looks fantastic - I'll be the one in the "Broadway Hat" if you want to say hi tomorrow night. 

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