I can hear Van Morrison: "and the healing has begun"
Ryan Callahan, out with a broken hand since Dec. 15, when hit by a Kris Letang shot, will face those same Penguins tomorrow at the Garden in his first game back. And the Rangers also could have two more injured forwards, Brandon Dubinsky (shut down for 12 days with a stress fracture of the left tibia) and Vinny Prospal (October knee surgery) back on Thursday when the Devils visit. Dubinsky needs to have his leg examined after today's practice, his first time pushing it since then.
All three, as well as Erik Christensen (sprained MCL) were on the ice today, although Christensen said he is is on target, which means probably a week or so away. He has been out almost five weeks. Coach John Tortorella joked that Prospal, Christensen and Dubinsky were the best of the five lines today.
As for the defense, Dan Girardi (ribs) told me the rest worked and had no issues. Marc Staal skated to the bench early after being struck by a shot on the boot, sat there for a bit, then exited to the trainer's room for treatment. Tortorella said that no one had told him that Staal was injured. "He's fine," he said. Michael Del Zotto was recalled, and there remains a possibility that he could play tomorrow, but that would mean a scratch for Ryan McDonagh, Matt Gilroy, Steve Eminger or Mike Sauer.
Up front is where the logjam is forming. Torts acknowledged that 15 forwards were "too many" for practice, but that the competition for spots will make the Rangers a better team. I'm surmising that with Callahan, Dubinsky and Propsal back healthy, Kris Newbury and Evgeny Grachev are on the bubble and it's unclear if either will make the trip to Montreal and Detroit on Super Bowl weekend.
When Christensen, who says he has a target date in mind, is ready, another decision will be necessary. Ruslan Fedotenko (shoulder sprain) has not skated.
The Penguins, FYI, will be without Sidney Crosby (concussion) and Evgeni Malkin (sinus infection) tomorrow, according to coach Dan Byslma.
More on this, some All-Star reaction from Henrik Lundqvist and Derek Stepan, and more in a bit...Oh, and our weekly live chat has been set for Friday at 1, live from Montreal....Don't miss it.