The Rangers invited John Amirante, their longtime national anthem singer, to do the honors before Game 7 against the Capitals Wednesday, but he had to decline because of illness.

Amirante, 80, was to sing his last-ever Rangers anthem before Game 2 of the first-round series against the Penguins, but the next day the Rangers said he would be invited to return periodically.

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The team planned to invite him to sing during the conference final against the Lightning if he is feeling up to it -- and if the Rangers advanced by winning Game 7 against the Caps.

The New York Post first reported the Rangers' invitation to Amirante to return.