In news that has totally come out of nowhere, the New York Rangers will be without their leading scorer and arguably their most valuable player up to this point, Brandon Dubinsky, for the next three-to-four weeks because of a stress fracture in his left leg.
John Tortorella spoke to reporters about Dubinsky's injury:
"No one specific thing (caused the injury). He's been complaining a little bit about soreness. We gave him a day off here and there. But there was no one specific thing. They looked at it yesterday and looked at it again today more closely, and it's a stress fracture. ... He's been struggling through it for the past couple of weeks here."
Dubinsky currently has 17 goals and 21 assists and has been the Rangers' most important player this year -- when you consider all the other injuries this team has faced -- playing in every facet of the game, leading a woeful faceoff team in faceoff percentage and leading all forwards in ice time. Though he had only scored once in the past nine games, rarely has Dubinsky's presence not been felt.
The Rangers are already without multiple members of their team: Vinny Prospal hasn't played a shift this season due to a knee injury, Alex Frolov tore his ACL (among other knee ailments), Erik Christensen suffered a sprained MCL and hasn't played since Dec. 29 and Ryan Callahan broke his hand back on Dec. 15. New York has also spent time with Marian Gaborik sidelined for a dozen games due to a separated shoulder. And its captain, Chris Drury, has only played 16 games this season because of a twice-broken finger.
To say this injury is devastating to the seventh-place Eastern Conference Rangers is an understatement. For a team that not only has struggled to score goals lately, plus a power play that has gone two for its last 32, this loss is huge.
The 24-year-old Dubinsky is a guy who has undoubtedly taken the next step this season, becoming a lead-by-example role model on a young Rangers squad and a gritty, hard-working and pretty skilled player on the ice, to, easily expected to surpass last season's career-high 44 points.
Sean Avery moves up to play with Artem Anisimov and Marian Gaborik, while Ruslan Fedotenko will again man the wing on the steady Brian Boyle-Brandon Prust line. The fourth line will consist of Chris Drury, Kris Newbury and Dale Weise, who was expected to be the healthy scratch tonight. For the time being, it looks like Weise is here to stay.
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