Girardi, who was deemed day-to-day on December 14, is making progress toward a return. The team noted that he was doing off-ice workouts Sunday.
Klein was determined to be out for two to three weeks on the first of the month, when he was diagnosed with a strained oblique, so, barring any setbacks, the team could have him back soon.
While both defenders have received criticism this season — particularly Girardi — the Rangers have struggled to find the right combination on the blue line in their absence. When it was just Klein out, Dylan McIlrath filled the gap well, even if the team wasn’t winning games. Since Girardi went down they gave rookie Brady Skjei a shot. He showed the offensive prowess he was known for at the University of Minnesota, but also had holes in his defensive game, with mental lapses that cost the team opportunities.
He was returned to the AHL and the team gave 27-year-old defenseman Chris Summers his first look of the season against Winnipeg on Friday.
They’ll need to get things stabilized soon no matter who is on the blue line. They’re 2-5-2 in the month of December and have seen themselves fall from the hottest team in the NHL to six points back from the top spot in the Metropolitan Division.
AV says Kevin Klein (oblique) remains out of #NYR lineup tonight as does Dan Girardi (knee)…Girardi did off ice workout today
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) December 20, 2015
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.