Hello from FLA, where it's breezy and cloudy but about 70, so who's complainin'?
OK, Christensen. Not a major surprise, given he left the ice limping after a netside collision with Devs D Andy Greene and was wearing a brace post-game. Team says they still don't have an estimate of how much time Christensen will miss, but it's clear both the Lightning and Panthers games here on the weekend and perhaps more.
Losing Christensen, 6-8-14 in 37 games and 3 for 3 in shootouts, leaves the Rangers a center short. Chris Drury could move from the wing, which I suspect will happen.
Weise, 7-5-12 in 16 games for the AHL Whale, had a few good shifts in his 6:43 on ice in his debut in Philadelphia on Dec. 18. The 22-year-old RW had a goal waved off because of a questionable "distinct kicking motion" ruling, blasted a shot that was partially stopped by Brian Boucher but trickled just wide of the post, and fought Dan Carcillo in the third period of that 4-1 loss. He is more than likely ticketed for the fourth line.
The Rangers are 13-6-0 on the road, and with the the back-to-backs in Tampa (7:30 Saturday) and then a 5 p.m. Sunday faceoff in Sunrise, I'm thinking Martin Biron (6-2, 2.43 .911 sp) will start against the Panthers. Biron last played on Dec. 16 against Phoenix, a 4-3 SO win, two weeks ago tonight. Henrik Lundqvist played in the 11-round shootout loss to Tampa at MSG on the 23rd.
How well are Rangers (22-14-2) faring, with three games left before the midpoint? After compiling 87 points last season, they are on pace for 99-100, despite losing more than 110 man-games to injuries. Overcoming the loss of Ryan Callahan, and to a lesser extent, Christensen, will be a challenge in the next month, with two games against Montreal, and one each against Vancouver, Dallas, St. Louis and Philadelphia in a Jan. 7 to 16th stretch and a three-game roadie to Carolina, Atlanta and Washington.
More in a bit...