The up and down season (okay, maybe more down than up) for Rangers captain Chris Drury continued today, as the Rangers announced that Drury will undergo knee surgery. Drury will have his left knee scoped, which has been bothering him over the course of the season, once again holding him from the lineup, this time for at least six weeks.
The No. 23 on the back of Drury’s sweater isn’t the only thing that he and that number have in common; it’s also the amount of games he’s played thus far this season.
After breaking his finger in training camp, Drury had hoped to put his injury woes behind him as he was able to make it back to the Rangers’ lineup for the home opener on Oct. 15. Unfortunately for Drury, that return only lasted just over nine minutes, as he re-broke the same finger in a freaky collision with then Rangers defenseman Michal Rozsival.
When Drury returned to the lineup once again on Dec. 15, it was clear that the captain was not himself. Missing nearly two months of the season is hard enough for a player to overcome to re-acclimate himself into game-speed, but doing so on a cranky knee is even more the obstacle.
Assuming it takes Drury the full six weeks to recover, that will lead the Rangers right into the final stretch of the regular season. Having a fully-healthy Drury might be beneficial for the Rangers heading into the playoffs, even if it’s for a limited role.
One of the biggest reasons GM Glen Sather signed Drury in the first place, was his ability to perform in the clutch; Sather didn’t have to do much research and analysis for an example, either. With the Rangers on the verge of taking a 3-2 series over the Sabres in the second round of the 2007 playoffs, Drury scored the game-tying goal for Buffalo with 7.7 seconds remaining in the third period, sending his team to an eventual overtime victory. The Sabres finished the Rangers off in Game 6.
Prior to that series, against the Islanders in the first round, Drury scored two of his 17 career playoff game-winning goals, helping the Sabres advance.
Drury, who signed a five-year, $35.25 million contract in the summer of 2007, has one more season left on his deal. He will turn 35 this summer.