Michal Rozsival will be taking a few days off ( 7 - 10 days ) to rehab, so in his absence the Rangers have recalled defenseman Mike Sauer from Hartford.
Sauer, at 6' 3" 220 pounds, was very close to making the Rangers roster two seasons ago. You may recall he and Brandon Dubinsky battling to the very end for a roster spot with Dubinsky ultimately taking the cake.
Since then he has had ups-and-downs, playing a good 2007 - 08 season, but suffering a major knee injury towards the end of the season and having to battle back this year. However, he seems to have recovered and regained form as he is once again a force on the Wolf Pack's blueline. In 59 games played this season, Sauer has accrued six goals, 16 assists (22 points) and a +19 rating, tops on the Wolf Pack.
There were heavy expectations for Sauer when he was drafted 40th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
The pick originally belonged to the Toronto Maple Leafs, but was acquired as part of the infamous Brian Leetch trade. Both Sauer and Lauri Korpikoski are the sole Ranger remnants of that trade.
While Sauer hasn't necessarily fallen short of expectations, he has had difficulty maintaining consistency, particularly with his injury troubles. Sauer has a very similar style to current Ranger defenseman Dan Girardi, a very simple, hard-nosed game. If he can continue to keep that simplicity, he will fit nicely in this squad.
Sauer will likely be paired with Paul Mara as Head Coach John Tortorella is more likely to promote Derek Morris with Wade Redden rather than throw Sauer into all those minutes.
In other news, all is quiet as the team readies for Minnesota tonight. Having put forth a disappointing effort against Ottawa, the Rangers need two points tonight, plain and simple.
With the standings continuing to tighten (Rangers sit in 7th place at 84 points), the Rangers have to take points where they're available.
Many will remember the five-goal outburst by Marian Gaborik in Minnesota, and the Rangers will have to contend with his talent once again as he has returned (again) from injury. Top-scorer Miko Koivu, however, seems to be done for the regular season.
Minnesota sits one point out of the playoff picture in the West and are coming off a 3 - 0 shutout against the Edmonton Oilers.
Finally, in regards to the above titled "Hot Dogs," the Rangers can't replicate the lax and listless effort against Ottawa. Chris Drury, Michal Rozsival, the fourth line, and even fan-favorites Henrik Lundqvist and Sean Avery need to pick their games back up.
With so few games remaining, these players are going to be relied on heavily and there is simply no margin for error, let alone lack of effort.
Perhaps Jarkko Ruutu just got the better of them.
More from the Garden tonight...