Thursday, January 6, 2011

With Rozsival Hurting Ryan McDonagh May Debut On Road Trip.

When Rangers defender Ryan McDonagh was called up earlier this week the coaching staff made it pretty clear the intent was to get a firsthand look at him in practice situations but that he was unlikely to get into game action.  That plan of action might just be adjusted this weekend with Michal Rozsival dealing with an assortment of ailments, most specifically a rib issue that has been plaguing him the past games.  According to Larry Brooks in the New York Post Rozsival the injury to his rib cage area forced Rozsival to did not play for the last 15 minutes of last night’s overtime game against Carolina. 

Steve Zipay reported the following this afternoon, via twitter:
Michal Rozsival hurt ribs in Florida game, twisted muscle again in battle on boards last night, treatment today, will try to skate in the AM
There had already been speculation about Rozsival being a healthy scratch over the past week or so based on a slippage in his play since his return from shoulder and knee issues earlier in the year.  This rib issue might be the perfect cover for the Rangers to give Rozsival the game off while getting a look at McDonagh in the heat of game action, and we all know how much the Rangers love cover stories.

If McDonagh does play I would ease him on the third pair to play with Matt Gilroy, allowing Gilroy to move back to his more natural right side of defense.  What this would do is take Steve Eminger and Michael Sauer who have played well together earlier this season as the second pair on defense. 

As my twitter conversation with Jesse Spector reminded me there will not be a lot of difference in the amount of ice time between the second and third pairs, but I believe there is a huge difference in the level of competition so let McDonagh get his feet wet in the shallower water and then he will swim all on his own.  What Rangers fans should expect from McDonagh is a solid, smart defensive defender who will make the simple play and take the body, which is what this team needs right now and would compliment Gilroy’s aggressive style well.