Brad Richards was at the Nassau Coliseum this morning, but did not practice with his teammates and will likely not suit up for tonight's game against the Islanders.
Richards told Andrew Gross at the Bergen Record that there's no timetable for his return, but he did not suffer a concussion. Richards adds that while he's still sore, it's not long term.
Arron Asham (back spasms) and Marc Staal (eye) are also out.
...great news on Richards. While I think the Rangers can survive without Richards in the short term, if the injury drags on into April it would be harder to overcome. Just seeing both Haley and Bickel at forward proves that.
...a long term Richards injury might also force the Rangers to recall Kreider before he's ready as well.
Gross adds that the Rangers have not made a decision between Matt Gilroy and Roman Hamrlik for the 6th defensive spot.
...while I panned the Hamrlik acquisition yesterday, I always like getting the new guy right in the line-up. Hell, the Rangers should probably try him on the power play as well. Can't be worse than what they've gotten out of the point spot all season.
Here were the lines at practice...
Henrik Lundqvist will be back between the pipes.
...saw some reports that Biron might get the call, but I'm glad to see Hank back in there as the Rangers are currently fighting the Islanders for a playoff spot right now so this is a big game. Plus I thought Biron struggled in his last start against the Fishsticks.
In Islander line-up news...
#Isles Nabokov in net for Islanders. Boulton in for Ullstrom. Capuano opting for some toughness in the lineup— Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) March 7, 2013
...if Haley actually gets on the ice tonight, he has an opportunity to make an impact against his former team.
Any word on defensive pairings with Staal out? I might like sticking with Mac and Stralman and moving DZ up with Girardi because he can cover his a$$ and maybe teach him a thing or two
Big step for the Rangers have not been able to get that 4th win in a row, and get on a roll. Would be a huge win over a divisional opponent, who is right there in the playoff hunt. Got to shut down Tavares to win this game, and without Norris candidate staal it is going to be a whole lot tougher
Still think we need Haley and Bickel in the lineup. You see Hartnell take liberties (and a penalty) with his cross check of Mcd? Then he went after Nash to an extent. Simmons came in the ice thereafter and took whacks at MDZ. Other teams have to know we won't stand for it and there will retribution. On another note Stepan has quietly been real good lately. Cally and Nash get a lot of ink which they deserve but Stepan has been key also. Great passes and goals of late.
Islanders physically battered the Canadians the other night. Some huge hits. That was their game plan going into the game....apparently with Boulton in the line-up....they will be sticking with that plan.
@McPhee21 Rangers will be tested physically again. Barely held up against Flyers. Hoping Haley gets more ice time.
As long as Haley is around to do some fighting if necessary, I'd like to see Gilroy get a chance in Bickel's spot with Hamrlik-Eminger as the 3rd pair. Gilroy is a whole lot better offensively, and is less likely to take a dumb penalty. Bickel and Haley both playing is kind of redundant.
In terms of Richards being out, I have full faith in Stepan. He has been playing like a number one center day in and day out. Definitely playing better than Richards, but I hope Brad is back real soon, he is definitely missed...
While I hope Richards will be okay soon, the only thing we're missing is the possibility of him returning to the player we expect, and who knows when that will be. Right now, I don't think we're missing much, unfortunately, especially when people are talking Richards and amnesty in the same sentence.
Does that mean Hank is out tomorrow? Remember they are also battling Ottawa for a playoff spot, who is actually ahead of them right now....
@slapshot13j Wouldn't be shocked to see Hank get both and Sunday against Caps as well. Rangers need to make-up ground. Jets and Sabres next week so Biron likely to get one of those games.
@KevinDeLury I don't know if you can play Hank three game in 4 nights. I know they are big, but the reason we got Biron is so that we didnt wear out hank in the regular season, and it worked very well last year. Also, he is definitely playing on Sunday, huge game against a caps team that is 7-3 in their last 10