OK, so maybe there’s some sarcasm in there seeing how half the Rangers roster remains in sort of brace or cast. I saw Marcel Hossa walking out of the dressing room last night limping so badly he looked like he just took a two-by-four to the knee, which leads me to believe he’s not going to be scoring any shoot-out goals anytime soon.
But the good news is Brendan Shanahan is coming back, most likely Wednesday against the very Philadelphia team he was knocked out cold against on Feb. 17. I don’t know what can be expected right away from a player who’s missed more than a month of hockey. But I also think even an 80-year-old Shanahan could probably sneak a few one-timers past a goalie, and the emotional significance alone of his return will provide the Rangers an immediate boost.
As for Martin Straka, there’s been no further word from the team on his condition, but I suspect he’ll miss at least tomorrow, and that Brandon Dubinsky will be back in his place.
Either way, for the first time since before the All-Star break, I see this team making the playoffs, which is shocking in itself given the number of games they’ve coughed away this season. But there is something to be said for the Rangers’ resilience. As was the case last year, when they thrived in the role of underdogs, they’ve continued to play their best hockey when the least is expected of them.
My guess is you’ve all lost a few hairs as a result. And there’s still always the chance the bottom could fall out. But here we are coming up on late March, and every night continues to be compelling theater.
From a reporter’s standpoint, that’s all I ever really wanted.