My story from lohud.com:
By Rick Carpiniello
GREENBURGH – A week ago, the Rangers had just two of their top six defensemen healthy.
On Thursday, when they take on Colorado at the Garden, they should have five.
With Kevin Klein (foot), John Moore (suspension) and Boyle back, only Ryan McDonagh (separated shoulder) remains out.
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault — whose system relies on defensemen who can move the puck, and who can get up in the play, not to mention a power play in desperate need of a legit quarterback — said the tell-tale sign was when he asked Boyle before practice Wednesday if he wanted to work with the first or second power-play unit. Boyle quickly answered “first.”
Boyle continues to have some pain and some weakness in the right hand, but he was on the power play at practice, making hard passes, shooting one-timers — the most he’s done since the injury, he said. Boyle stayed after practice to do some battling and tugging with teammates, trying to simulate game situations he will encounter.
“It felt better than yesterday and hopefully it just keeps going that way,” Boyle said. “You have to play in a game to find out for real.
“According to (the doctor), it’s five weeks (Thursday) and that’s a sufficient amount of time for the bone to heal. As far as pain goes, he said that could be another month, month and a half before that goes away. We all play with pain, so that’s just something I’m going to have to deal with.”
Vigneault has been cautious about not rushing Boyle, but if he’s ready to go, he won’t necessarily be eased back in.
“I don’t know if you have taken a look at the standings lately,” Vigneault said when asked about that, “but we aren’t in the playoffs.
“If I can manage his ice time we will try to keep him under 20 minutes.”
Vigneault was also asked about the handling of Anthony Duclair, the 19-year-old who sat out Tuesday’s eye-popping 5-0 win over Pittsburgh. Duclair hasn’t done anything to show he doesn’t belong in Vigneault’s eyes, and the Rangers don’t want to send him back to juniors because then he can’t come back up this season.
“I feel that with my experience and with Glen (Sather)’s experience, who has been around since the dark ages, we’ll be able to figure it out,” Vigneault said laughing out loud. “Can I say that? I shouldn’t have said that.”
Photos by Getty Images.