New York Rangers’ Kevin Klein is out for a little while, but it is not the end of the world. The Rangers have a trick up their sleeve.
By Jay Travers
It is December and the New York Rangers have had a good season so far.
After hitting a slight speed bump, the Blueshirts are back on track with a win over the Hurricanes on Monday night.
The Rangers came out fast and ready to battle hard.
That’s the good news. Here’s the bad news.
During the first period, Blueshirts defenseman Kevin Klein was seen skating slowly to the Rangers’ bench after taking a hit.
After failing to hop over the boards, trainers took him into the locker room for further examination.
Klein did not return for the game, and the Rangers released a statement.
Today it was announced that Klein had suffered a “strained oblique” and will miss some game time.
#NYR Injury Update: Kevin Klein has a strained oblique and will miss 2-3 weeks of action
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) December 1, 2015
After the hot start the Rangers went on to start the season, losing three straight was a bummer. And then after getting back into the win column last night, losing Klein sort of overshadowed the victory.
But Blueshirts fans do not need to worry. There is an trick up their sleeve and his name is Dylan McIlrath.
The stars seem to be lining up perfectly for the 23 year old defenseman out of Winnipeg, Canada. This season has been his first taste of real NHL action.
Playing in six games this season, mostly in place of aging defender Dan Boyle, McIlrath has proven himself worthy of a shot at the much needed sixth spot on the Rangers’ defense.
While he does not have a single point this year, that is not an issue. The Rangers need another outstanding player on defense.
The top three defenseman in the arsenal are veterans on defense, however they have not been playing smart hockey of late. And the whole defensive core has not played well overall.
All of the recent games, starting with Boston, the Rangers possessed the lead for the game. They lost their lead and coughed up a win, and an advancement in the standings. This is not the way to win, literally.
Dylan McIlrath has giving 110% on the ice and is ready for the NHL.
This is also good for head coach Alain Vigneault. You could throw Brady Skjei into the mix as well, but that likely will not happen.
The Rangers need to focus on stringing a few wins together before mixing up their defensive units.
All in all, the Rangers won last night and that should be praised and not forgotten. But, there is one thing they need to do: play smarter defensively. Losing Klein will hurt without a doubt. However, the team has to believe in McIlrath and his ability to play. McIlrath has to believe in himself and then the rest is from there. It will all flow and hopefully the Rangers do not look back from here.
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