Rangers receive both good and bad injury news

NYR, Rangers, New York Rangers, Filip Chytil
Feb 6, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Filip Chytil (72) during the second period against the Calgary Flames at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are now just five days away from the start of the regular season. Preseason concluded with a less-than-ideal finale, seeing the Rangers fall to a 1-5 record throughout six exhibition games.

Training camp has been taking a toll on the Blueshirts, as a handful of players have continuously been listed as day-to-day with seemingly non-serious injuries. Many of these players have returned to the lineup, but as one player moves closer to health, another has gotten injured.

Lafreniere has been listed as day-to-day

With less than a week until opening night, Rangers forward Alexis Lafreniere has reportedly been labeled with an upper-body injury. There are few current details of this injury, but the Rangers must hope that Lafreniere is back in the lineup relatively quickly.

Lafreniere has a major campaign ahead of him as he enters the first season of his two-year contract. The Rangers have high expectations from the former first-overall draft pick, with a position change hopefully elevating him into the top six.

The preseason did not do Lafreniere any favors, as he only tallied one assist throughout all of his games played. If the 2023-24 season does not contain a major breakout from Lafreniere, his time with the Rangers may come to an end.

He’ll need to bring an increased level of intensity and point production to every game, so it is crucial that this injury does not keep him out of the lineup long. Even if he is ready to play on opening night, there can not be any lingering effects that hinder his abilities.

Chytil will hopefully be back with the Rangers by opening night

With some positive news on the Rangers’ injury front, Filip Chytil has been back on the ice in practice. Just a few days ago, he was skating by himself, and now was just seen today with the team wearing a red non-contact jersey. This is a great sign and indicates that he is making progress in his recovery.

Chytil’s injury has been the longest of any Ranger this training camp, as everyone else had returned to the lineup only a few days after being hurt. The same was expected from Chytil with a day-to-day label, but he is now approaching two weeks since the injury.

This is another player who is essential to the Rangers’ roster. Although the Blueshirts do possess elite center depth, Chytil has the potential to receive significant time on the second line if he performs well. He’s coming off of a breakout season, and can once again increase his career high in points if he stays healthy. Based on these new reports, it seems that the Rangers are hopeful that Chytil will be in the lineup on October 12th when the regular season begins.

“Chytil has been day-to-day with an upper-body issue since Sept. 26. It’s unclear at this time if he will be available for Opening Night on Thursday against Buffalo. Chytil had 22 goals, 45 points and 177 shots on goal last season.”

via CBS Sports

Is Laviolette pushing the Rangers too hard?

As of now, Lafreniere is the sixth Rangers player to have gotten injured throughout training camp and the preseason. It’s rare that a team experiences a slew of injuries this consistently early on in the year.

It’s known that newly hired head coach Peter Laviolette has increased the level of intensity in his practices, but this new injury raises some questions about just how hard he is working his players.

The Rangers have been criticized in recent years for not being a strong, aggressive team. They play with too much finesse and lack any sort of physicality — except for maybe Jacob Trouba.

What Laviolette is doing will ultimately benefit the Rangers. There have been a lot of injuries early on, but this is due to the players not being used to putting this much effort into their training.

The Blueshirts are a physically weak team, and that has shown in their recent performances. With more practice and conditioning, Laviolette will hopefully create a stronger team that has the ability to go far in a brutal playoff environment.

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