From what coach John Tortorella keeps saying -- or not saying -- about forward Mike Rupp, it appears Sean Avery's stay with the Rangers could be lengthy.

Before Thursday night's game, Tortorella would divulge only that Rupp, who missed his fourth straight game with a sore left knee, will not be skating soon, has seen more doctors and that there might be more information in a day or so. He played only 4:39 in his last appearance, against Winnipeg on Oct. 24.

Avery was summoned to replace Rupp, who signed a three-year, $4.5-million contract in July. If Rupp needs surgery and agrees to a procedure, it makes sense to have it done sooner rather than later.

Predatory instincts

Given that the Predators allocated $49 million on a seven-year deal for goalie Pekka Rinne on Thursday and that defenseman Ryan Suter (earning $3.5 million) is eligible for unrestricted free agency in July, the presence of two Nashville scouts in the group of those attending the game raised some eyebrows among trade speculators. All-Star defenseman Shea Weber is a restricted free agent, and it is believed that the Predators cannot afford to keep all three.

Blue notes

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Martin Biron is expected to get his third start over the weekend against either Montreal or Winnipeg in the back-to-backs at MSG. Biron made 27 saves in the 2-1 victory in Winnipeg on Oct. 24 . . . Ryan McDonagh's one-timer at the end of the morning skate caught Henrik Lundqvist in the mask, prompting the Swede to examine the equipment. Said a sheepish McDonagh, "It just knuckled on me."

Prospect watch

Jesper Fasth, a sixth-round draft pick in 2010, is the No. 10 scorer in the Swedish Elite League with four goals and 10 assists in 16 games. He plays for HV71 on a line with former Islander Jesse Joensuu.