G as in Marian Gaborik, who was to be examined last night and perhaps cleared for contact at practice today at noon. It will be another step in his recovery from a separated left shoulder sustained on Oct. 15. The Rangers (7-6-1) are 6-5 without him and Chris Drury, following a shutout loss to the Blues last night.
But the Rangers could easily drop to .500 or below before Gaborik, who had 14 power play goals last season, returns.
The Caps roll into town tomorrow, the Sabres Thursday and Edmonton for a Sunday matinee before the Rangers visit the Penguins in the new Consol Energy Center on Monday night. I'm not sure Gaborik will be ready to go back to back, so he may not dress Sunday, but Monday.
Henrik Lundqvist will start at least three of those games.
When Gaborik returns, the Rangers will have to make some moves, with Evgeny Grachev likely to return to Hartford. He's getting Boogaardian ice time (why not try him on the 5-minute power play in the third?). Christensen has been soft, and I wonder if Todd White or Derek Stepan will get some minutes with Gaborik and Frolov next week? Drury is still weeks away.
It's Boston at the Garden on the 17th (when the Rangers will debut the 85th anniversary Heritage jerseys) and then a western trip for back-to-backs in Colorado and Minnesota follow to wrap up the first quarter of the season. We'll do a report card and grades then. Busy month. 16 games.
Dispatches from practice here after 12. And please follow me on twitter.com/stevezipay