With the Rangers set to return from the All Star break next Tuesday, players were back on the ice for the first formal practice since their 5-2 win over the Panthers back on February 1st. The team went into the layoff with several players under injury cloud, and today was our first chance to see who might be back for the game against Boston.
The biggest question of course, was whether Adam Fox would practice, after having missed the last three games before the All Star game, courtesy of an upper body injury suffered in the 5-3 loss to Columbus. At the time the injury was not thought to be serious, but when the Rangers put him on IR, questions arose as to whether it might have longer lasting effects than beyond the break.
Fortunately it appears as if there is no long lasting issues, with the young blueliner back on the ice in a regular jersey. Also amongst the skaters today, were Patrik Nemeth and Filip Chytil. Nemeth had been moved to non-roster status back on the 24th of January, and has not been available in the last four games. Meanwhile Chytil had missed the past five, after picking up a lower body injury in the win over the Arizona Coyotes back on the 22nd.
Notably absent was forward Kaapo Kakko. Kakko has also not played since the Arizona game, being a late scratch ahead of the home game against the Kings on the 24th, despite coming out for the pre-game warmups. Before the break, Gallant had indicated it would be a week to week type injury, so any sense of when he might be ready to return to skating will have to wait.
The Rangers scrabbled to a 3-2-0 record over the past five games, including an impressive 5-2 win to cap off the period before the All-Star game, relying on a handful of depth players and their top players to carry them.
With the trade deadline still five and a half weeks away, there are a number of players who will want to prove they can be part of a winning combination ahead of any decisions to be made.