Camp’s only been open a few days. Unfortunately, the Rangers already have been dealt an injury to their captain. During yesterday’s scrimmage, Chris Drury went down to block a shot, breaking his left index finger.
“It’s a tough break for him,” John Tortorella said. “He’s a big part of our club as far as what he brings on and off the ice.”
Coming off his worst season in which he produced just 14 goals and 32 points in 77 games, the 34 year-old former Little League World Series Trumbull, Connecticut hero is looking to bounce back. The veteran pivot, who also was an integral part of Team USA’s silver medal in Vancouver alongside PK partner and teammate Ryan Callahan, missed five games last year due to a concussion suffered in Calgary. Prior to the disappointing campaign, he posted 58 points (25-33-58 in 82 GP) in Year One and 56 (22-34-56 in 81 GP) in Year Two on Broadway. If he can get back to that level without missing more than the club’s first couple of games at Buffalo October 9 and the Islanders on Columbus Day (10/12), Dru could still be a vital piece.
In Monday’s scrimmage, he was centering both alternates Callahan and Vinny Prospal. Figure the gritty forward entering his 12th year to anchor Tort’s third line and contribute defensively, especially on the penalty killing unit. He also should see time on the power play just for his ability to deflect pucks and get to loose change in front.
For the mean time, the Blueshirts will look for someone to step up in camp with the first preseason game Thursday against the Devils. Prospal can always shift to center and Brandon Dubinsky is a natural pivot as well. Artem Anisimov figures to be looked to for secondary scoring. There’s also Marian Gaborik ex-Wild ‘mate Todd White, who was brought in off the scrap heap for Donald Brashear and Patrick Rismiller. Erik Christensen figures to be used everywhere. Who knows about Brian Boyle? Even if improved, how much better can he be? Too bad they didn’t keep Lauri Korpikoski. Enver Lisin. What a disgrace. What if rookie Derek Stepan impresses? Does he automatically get sent down? You sure hope not.
We’ll get a better idea over the next week on what the lineup might look like.