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Rangers send down Michael Del Zotto, recall Ryan McDonagh

Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto during a game

Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto during a game against the Nashville Predators at Madison Square Garden. (Feb. 10, 2010) Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

As first reported a short while ago by Larry Brooks of the Post, the Rangers have decided what they've been debating for a couple weeks: Michael Del Zotto is being sent to Connecticut.

That should be the big surprise, but perhaps the slightly bigger surprise is that Ryan McDonagh, the first-year pro who has been coming along slowly with the Whale after plenty of talk in training camp about him making the blg club, is coming up.

Del Zotto's confidence is all twisted around; he was a healthy/slightly unhealthy (flu, sore groin) scratch four times in the last six. He got back in on Sunday in Sunrise and was a minus-1 with a penalty in 15:33.

The hope is the same that the Isles had for Josh Bailey: Go down, become a force again and bring the positive vibes back to the NHL. The hiccup, though, is that the Rangers have a bit more at stake being in the middle of the playoff chase. If Matt Gilroy continues to play well, Del Zotto may not be back for a while.

McDonagh has a goal and seven assists in 38 games with the Whale; he's a plus-1, compared to Pavel Valentenko's plus-11. But McDonagh may simply be getting his crack first.

The problem for the Rangers now is that Michal Rozsival's game has slipped of late, according to John Tortorella; if McDonagh gets in the lineup over Gilroy, he may be paired with Rozsival and will need to be a steady presence right away.

Of course, McDonagh could get his break at Rozsival's expense. It's a good dilemma to have.


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