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Jim Cerny's Rink Rap


November 9, 2009 8:54 PM

Monday Musings on Rangers Injuries, 'Canes Woes, and HHOF




Up at Rangers practice today John Tortorella gazed across the ice and saw a group of players that did not include his No. 1 goalie, Henrik Lundqvist, his top two centers, Chris Drury and Brandon Dubinsky, his top offensive threat and sniper, Marian Gaborik, and another regular role player, Enver Lisin.

Could make the head coach long for a return to Tampa, eh?

Panic, though, is not really a word found in Tortorella's vocabulary. As such, he expects his club to forge ahead, with or without the availability of the aforementioned players.

"No one wants to have injuries, but they are a part of the game," Torts said. "There are no excuses here."

Lundqvist, who has missed the past two games with an unspecified injury thought to be a groin or thigh issue, echoed the coach's feelings this afternoon.

"When you go through a year you have to expect that guys will get hurt," Lundqvist said this afternoon after riding the stationary bike and receiving some treatment. "The thing is to never have an excuse to not be ready to be out there. There's never an excuse for not playing your best. You don't start thinking about who's not on the ice or who's feeling sore because it only hurts your game."

For the record, Lundqvist stated that his plan is to play on Thursday in the Rangers next game against the Atlanta Thrashers. He feels another complete day off---which Tortorella is giving the entire team on Tuesday---will have him ready to go.

Torts confirmed that Dubinsky has a broken hand. "I'm not sure how long he's out, but I guess he'll be out for an extended period of time".

The coach also said that Drury was "feeling better" today after suffereing a concussion on a blindside hit thrown by Calgary's Curtis Glencross on Saturday night. Drury rode the bike and will be monitored by the Rangers training staff. Tortorella would not rule him out of Thursday's contest.

Lisin is a question mark right now. He blocked a shot with the inside of his foot eight days ago and is still limping badly, though he did play in each of the Rangers last two games.

And the best news is that Gaborik, who missed two games a couple of weeks ago with a right leg injury, was given the day off to rest.

This club's depth and mettle is about to be tested like it never had to be a year ago when the Rangers had a ridiculously lucky season as far as injuries were concerned.

To that end, Torts says that we shouldn't be so quick to assume there will be a call-up or two from Hartford. With Vinny Prospal moving to center the Rangers could make do with their current roster.

"You don't need four centers anyway," explained Torts.

That would put a lot more responsibility on the shoulders of young pivots Brian Boyle, 23, and Artem Anisimov, 21.

Torts seems eager to see if they---especially Anisimov, whom the coach is becoming fond of---can handle it.

We shall see what the coming days bring.

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The Carolina Hurricanes are in a shocking freefall. And now their No. 1 goaltender Cam Ward will miss 3-4 weeks after being cut on his leg Saturday night against Columbus.

Today the 'Canes inked veteran Manny Legace for some goaltending insurance. He will team with Michael Leighton in goal, and try to help Carolina, months removed from an impressive playoff run, turn its season around.

The Hurricanes are amazingly winless in their last 12 games (0-9-3), and have scored more than two goals only twice in that span. Right now they sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference---yes, below Toronto which has now won two in a row---with seven points (2-11-3).

The 'Canes have been outscored by a whopping 59-32 margin. They have not scored. They have been brutal defensively. And, even with Ward in the lineup, have received sketchy goaltending.

Carolina GM Jim Rutherford has never been afraid to change coaches midstream, so Paul Maurice can not be feeling too comfortable right about now.

And the dim prospects in Carolina have turned more dark now with Ward's injury.

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The Hockey Hall of Fame welcomes a truely elite class this evening as Brett Hull, Lou Lamoriello, Brian Leetch, Luc Robitaille, and Steve Yzerman (pictured above) are officially enshrined in Toronto.

I will share my thoughts on all of these hockey greats tomorrow, in particular Leetch, who I covered as a reporter for much of his career in New York.

But for now, congrats boys! Very well deserved in all cases!

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