With a playoff spot clinched, we are running a new series about turning points in the season. These posts will focus on moves the Rangers made that effectively turned their season from mediocre to great. Part one: Calling up Hagelin and Mitchell.
The Rangers started the season shorthanded on the blue line. Marc Staal was out indefinitely with a concussion to start the season, so the Rangers were already short a top pairing defenseman. A rotation of Anton Stralman, Steve Eminger, and Jeff Woywitka was being used to fill the bottom pairing, and had been doing so with minimal success.
Fast forward to December 5, when Mike Sauer hit the boards awkwardly after a thunderous Dion Phaneuf hit. Sauer was diagnosed with a concussion, and hasn’t been seen since. Now, the Rangers are down two top-four defensemen. Just like he had last year, Eminger filled in nicely on the top four while paired with Michael Del Zotto. He made the injuries to Sauer and Staal easier to manage.
Then the world seeme...