Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Brandon Dubinsky Could Return Early; Is It Too Soon?

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
The impending returns of Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi this evening were not surprising when they were announced yesterday, but the possibly return of Brandon Dubinsky to the Rangers lineup tonight certainly was somewhat shocking.  It was just two weeks ago when Dubinsky, the team’s leading scorer with 38 points (17 goals, 21 assists), was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his leg that was feared to keep him out of action for a month.  The answer as to whether he will actually suit up tonight will not be known until later this morning when they see how his leg responds to the hard skate and full practice he participated in yesterday.  The response yesterday from both Dubinsky and coach John Tortorella was to not rule anything out.  One has to wonder about the thought process of considering letting him return this soon.

Medically he has been cleared to play and is said to not be in danger of making the injury worse, so it is a question of pain tolerance.  I have no doubt that Dubinsky can tolerate the pain considering that he played on the injury for weeks before ever getting it checked out, and eventually having himself taken out of the lineup.  Knowing that was the case beforehand means this decision has to be taken out of the hands of Dubinsky and put in the hands of the coaching staff, who can take the long view and understand waiting even one more game can increase the chances of keeping him in the lineup for the long haul.
“He wants to play. It just can't be his decision,” said the Rangers coach “We can't put him in a situation where he gets hurt again.”
As long as the Rangers take that approach with their star winger in the midst of his breakout season, then you must trust whatever decision they make in regards to Dubinsky’s availability tonight.  Whether you see that Dubinsky jersey on the ice tonight or night, skating around with his partner in crime Callahan, realize that health is around the corner and that this unit survived without so much of their key parts that they can wait one more.