Forward Matt Puempel, who developed concussion symptoms late in practice on Monday, is out indefinitely, coach Alain Vigneault said Tuesday, “until we can sort this out.”
Puempel, who scored a hat trick on three power-play goals against the Coyotes in Arizona last Thursday, took a hit from Colorado’s Cody McLeod 3:56 into the second period on Saturday. He returned to play 4:04 in the third period.
The 23-year-old, who was claimed by the Rangers on Nov. 21 after being waived by the Ottawa Senators, had missed four games with a concussion suffered on Dec. 6 after a hit from the Islanders’ Brock Nelson at Barclays Center.
“You might remember he got hit in Colorado,” Vigneault said, “the (concussion) protocol was fine. He started practice with us (Monday), and he was fine until the last ten minutes and had to leave.”
Nicklas Jensen was summoned from Hartford and played in Puempel’s spot as a fourth-line winger against the Sabres. J.T. Miller moved into Puempel’s net-front role on a power-play unit.
“The last few games he (Miller) has responded real well, so he’ll have an opportunity to get a little more ice time,” said Vigneault.
When the Rangers are on their NHL-mandated break from Jan. 8-12, players on injured reserve, such as Pavel Buchnevich (back) and Mika Zibanejad (broken fibula), can skate on their own, the team confirmed.
“This is a new break for everybody,” said Vigneault. “On this one really nothing can be done. We can’t see the players or anything until the last day (Thursday the 12th) about 4 p.m.,” when the Rangers are scheduled to practice in Greenburgh before hosting the Maple Leafs on the 13th.
Philly is next
The Rangers visit Philadelphia Wednesday night in the second half of this back-to-back. They edged the Flyers 3-2 at Wells Fargo Center on Nov. 25.