Friday, February 25, 2011

With Staal Out, Big Test for McDonagh; Fedotenko, Eminger In, Newbury Waived.

The Rangers received a mixed bag of news this morning in that it is great to have Ruslan Fedotenko back in the lineup tonight against the Capitals, but no offense to Feds every New York Rangers fan would rather have Marc Staal in there.  For the first time in 248 games the Rangers will take the ice tonight without #18 Marc Staal in the lineup.  Staal, who was supposed to take part in the morning skate to test out his injured left knee was unable to do so, and was ruled out of the lineup.  Any game with the loss of Marc Staal is a huge deal for the Rangers’ defense, but against Alex Ovechkin the fear of his absence is only heightened.
The Rangers will be forced to mix up their defense pairings in the absence of Staal and will bring Steve Eminger back into the lineup.  Coach John Tortorella has decided to break Ryan McDonagh and Michael Sauer apart and place McDonagh with Dan Girardi to match the Ovechkin line.  It is obviously a big challenge for McDonagh, but everything he had done to this point shows that he is up for that task.  Sauer will team with Matt Gilroy and those two have worked well together in the past.  Being with Sauer should allow Gilroy more freedom to join the rush, pinch and just be more aggressive than he has been since being paired with Del Zotto.  Eminger and Del Zotto will make up the final pairing.
With Fedotenko returning the Rangers have placed Kris Newbury on waivers because he hit the magic number to have to clear waivers before being send back to the AHL.  With Newbury being so close to the limit it only furthers the questioning of why he was the one called up for Tuesday’s game because while not a great player the Rangers are now left to risk losing him for nothing if another team claims him.