New York Rangers: Igor Shesterkin injury “not as bad as it looked”

New York Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant hinted that Igor Shesterkin might’ve avoided disaster after a Friday injury.

In a statement that launched a thousand cautious exhales, New York Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant announced that Igor Shesterkin’s game-ending injury from Friday was “not as bad as it looked”.

Shesterkin was working on a shutout effort against the San Jose Sharks at Madison Square Garden when he was forced to depart with a non-contact injury. The star goaltender was unable to put weight on his right leg as he was helped off the ice. Alexandar Georgiev took over the last 14:52 of what became a 1-0 Rangers win, creating the team’s first shared shutout since December 2016.

Gallant offered an optimistic approach after the game, describing the ailment as a “minor lower-body” issue.

“They’re telling me it’s not as bad as it looks,” Gallant said, per Vince Mercogliano of LoHud.com. “The trainer just said, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ That’s all he told me.”

Shesterkin has played a major role in the Rangers’ hot start. He has been the winning goaltender in each of the Blueshirts victories during an active five-game streak and has amassed a league-best 13 victories (tied with Jack Campbell of Toronto). His save percentage (.937) and goal against average (2.05) rank third and fifth respectively amongst qualifying goaltenders.

Georgiev, the incumbent backup, is expected to take over in Shesterkin’s wake. Friday marked his first action since Nov. 21, when he was pulled from a start against Buffalo after allowing four goals on 18 shots over two periods (Shesterkin earned the win in a 5-4 final). His nine saves helped the Rangers (15-4-3) seal the deal against San Jose to extend the Eastern Conference’s longest active winning streak (tied with Toronto). Georgiev is in the midst of his fifth season as the Rangers’ primary backup goaltender after joining the organization as an undrafted free agent in 2017.

Though Georgiev has struggled this season (2-1-1, 3.89 GAA), he held down the fort against the Sharks, though he did not earn his first win since Nov. 14’s overtime decision against New Jersey. The Bulgarian-born goaltender was always scheduled to start the Rangers’ Saturday tilt against Chicago (8 p.m. ET, MSG), the second half a back-to-back set at MSG.

Per Mollie Walker of the New York Post, the Rangers have promoted Adam Huska from AHL Hartford to serve as Georgiev’s backup. Hartford is currently in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak-induced pause, one that placed regular goalie Keith Kinkaid in protocols. Huska joined the Rangers as a seventh-round draft pick in 2015 and has earned a 2-3-1 record with a team-best .924 save percentage this AHL season. Morgan Barron is set to return to Hartford in a corresponding move.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Rangers: F Sammy Blais out for 6-8 months

Blais was injured in the New York Rangers’ Sunday win over New Jersey and will miss the rest of the season.

The New York Rangers announced that Sammy Blais will be placed on injured reserve with a knee injury that will take 6-8 months to recover from.

Larry Brooks of the New York Post added that Blais tore his ACL during Sunday’s 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils and will miss the remainder of the season. Blais was forced to leave the game after his skates were clipped by Devils defenseman P.K. Subban. He needed assistance to leave the ice and put no weight on his right leg upon his departure.

Blais was in the midst of his first season with the Rangers after four years with the St. Louis Blues. He is perhaps best known as the Rangers’ yield in the trade that sent Pavel Buchnevich out to the midwest, which also netted the Rangers a second-round pick. This season ends with four points, all assists, in 14 games for Blais, who also tallied 17 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of +3 (the latter mark tied for the team-high).

In Blais’ departure, the Rangers recalled Greg McKegg from AHL Hartford. McKegg has appeared in eight games for New York this season, winning 47 percent of his faceoffs (24-of-51).

With Blais out, the Rangers (9-3-3) return to action on Tuesday night at home against the Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m. ET, MSG).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

New York Jets WR Corey Davis “trending” toward not playing on Sunday

jets, corey davis

Davis is a surprise entry to the New York Jets’ ever-expanding injury report and likely won’t play on Sunday against Cincinnati.

A gargantuan task for the New York Jets has somehow become even more of a chore.

Top receiver Corey Davis is set to miss this weekend’s contest against the Cincinnati Bengals with a hip flexor injury sustained in Thursday’s practice. Head coach Robert Saleh revealed the extent of Davis’ injury during his Friday availability.

“Corey, obviously, he showed up on that injury report yesterday. It’s not looking good. We’re still holding on for hope, but it’s trending in that direction,” Saleh said, per notes from the Jets. “We’ll see, it’s day-to-day. We’re still holding on for this Sunday, like I said, but we’ll see as it goes.”

Davis, working through his first year with the Jets, leads the team in nearly all major receiving categories after six games. The former Tennessee Titan has scored four of the five aerial touchdowns the Jets (1-5) have earned this season and has also earned 349 yards on 24 receptions.

With Davis potentially out for Sunday’s visit from Cincinnati (1 p.m. ET, CBS), Saleh hinted that Denzel Mims could finally earn an extended opportunity in the receiving rotation.

“(Davis) is a stud,” Saleh said. “But (the injury) gives Denzel Mims an opportunity to step into that Z role and along with the rotation that we have with Elijah (Moore) and Keelan Cole, so it gives guys opportunities to step up.”

While there’s a glimmer of hope that Davis could be available on Sunday, Saleh ruled rusher Tevin Coleman, linebacker Bryce Huff, and tight end Trevon Wesco out. Huff’s fellow linebacker Jarrad Davis, on the other hand, is set to make his New York debut after spending all of this season on injured reserve, though Saleh hinted he could be on a limited snap count.

“He hasn’t played in a while, so we got to be able to spell him,” Saleh said of the former Lion’s availability. “Quincy (Williams) is going to return from concussion protocol, so we feel good about that. So, we’ll be able to get him at least some reps in there to give JD a break.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Rangers: Kaapo Kakko nears return

kaapo kakko, rangers

Kaapo appears to be on pace to partake in the New York Rangers’ return to action against Columbus on Friday night.

Optimism reigns when it comes to the return of Kaapo Kakko, who may be ready to go when the New York Rangers take the ice on Friday night against Columbus (7 p.m. ET, MSG).

Kakko has missed the last four games after suffering an upper-body injury during Oct. 16’s win in Montreal but it appears that the third-year Blueshirt is ready to end his medical sabbatical.

“I’m ready to play,” Kakko said of his status, per Mollie Walker of the New York Post. Though Kakko is ready to play, it may take Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant some convincing to put him in Friday’s lineup.

“Hopefully, pretty sure, but that’s not 100 percent,” Gallant said in another report from Walker. “We got through [Thursday], and the medical staff will let me know in the morning. It looks good.”

Walker’s reports stated that Kakko has returned to the second even-strength line as a full participant in the last two practices, working alongside Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome.

The Rangers (4-2-1) are returning to Madison Square Garden for a Friday night tilt against the divisional rival Blue Jackets (4-2-0) before embarking on a four-game road trip through the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada.

During his time away from the team, Kakko kept a close eye on the Rangers’ penalty kill, saying he “definitely learned something about it”. The Rangers killed off all but one of 12 penalties in Kakko’s absence after allowing goals on four of their first 11.

While the Rangers are hopeful about seeing Kakko on Friday, it’s likely they’ll be missing Ryan Reaves, who left Monday’s 5-1 loss to the Calgary Flames with a lower body injury. Reaves did not practice on Thursday, nor did Chris Kreider, though the latter was held out due to maintenance.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets reacquire QB Joe Flacco

In the aftermath of Zach Wilson’s injury, the New York Jets have brought back Flacco, last year’s backup who was stationed in Philadelphia.

The New York Jets have welcomed back quarterback Joe Flacco through a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. Flacco, 36, was the Jets’ backup quarterback last season before moving on through free agency.

This Monday deal was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who says that the Jets sent over a sixth-round draft pick that could become a fifth depending on Flacco’s playing time.

Flacco’s return comes in the wake of a Zach Wilson injury suffered in Sunday’s 54-13 loss at the hands of the New England Patriots. The second overall pick of last year’s draft underwent an MRI and was diagnosed with a PCL sprain. Head coach Robert Saleh confirmed that Wilson will miss two-to-four weeks during his Monday statements, per notes from the Jets. Mike White finished out the game, completing 20-of-32 passes for 202 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. The Jets also have well-traveled veteran Josh Johnson on their practice squad.

The Super Bowl XLVII MVP and Audubon, NJ native now returns to the tri-state area. Partly brought in for his potential as a veteran mentor, Flacco appeared in five games for the Jets (1-5) and made four starts after Sam Darnold missed time with a shoulder injury. He served in a similar capacity in Philadelphia (2-5) as he was listed as the top backup for Jalen Hurts, though he did not appear in any games. Garner Minshew will likely take over that role in Flacco’s place while the team also signed Reid Sinnett off waivers from Miami. Flacco was Denver’s opening day starter in 2019 after 11 years as the Baltimore Ravens’ franchise quarterback.

Flacco posted respectable numbers in New York after coming off neck surgery, tallying 864 yards and six touchdowns against three interceptions. That included a 262-yard, three-touchdown performance in a Monday night contest against the New England Patriots in November.

It remains to be seen if Flacco will be able to start for the Jets’ next contest, as they battle the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium (1 p.m. ET, CBS). A Thursday night tilt in Indianapolis awaits after the Bengals’ visit.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets QB Zach Wilson set to miss 2-4 weeks (Report)

zach wilson, jets

The New York Jets have reportedly avoided a major catastrophe when it comes to Zach Wilson’s injury, but another rookie isn’t so fortunate.

Reports from ESPN’s Adam Schefter had good news and bad news when it came to New York Jets-based medical news stemming from Sunday’s disastrous 54-13 loss to the New England Patriots.

The team has appeared to have avoided a major disaster when it comes to franchise quarterback Zach Wilson, as a sprained PCL diagnosed through an MRI is projected to keep him out for the next 2-4 weeks. Safety and fellow rookie Jamien Sherwood, however, isn’t as fortunate: a torn Achilles has been reported to end Sherwood’s season, further devastating a unit that has seen several regulars fall to injury.

Wilson endured several low hits during first half action on Sunday and was diagnosed with a knee injury after he was victimized by Matt Judon in the latter stages of the second quarter. He was initially labeled questionable to return but Mike White played out the remainder of the defeat, throwing for 202 yards and a score in his regular season debut. White, a 2018 draft pick in Dallas, is the only other active quarterback on the Jets’ roster, though tenured veteran Josh Johnson lingers on the practice squad.

Meanwhile, Sherwood’s rookie season is set to end early after the Jets chose him in the fifth round of last spring’s draft. He was a safety at Auburn but the Jets immediately made plans to shift him to linebacker. Sherwood mostly worked on special teams in the early stages of the season but earned sizable responsibilities when he was granted the “green dot” in place of the likewise injured C.J. Mosley. The wearer of the green sticker is the player who communicates with the coaches on the sidelines. Sherwood played a career-high 52 snaps in Sunday’s loss, earning two tackles.

The remaining Jets will look to move forward when they battle the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Marcus Maye addresses trade rumors, commits to New York Jets

Set to return to the field on Sunday, New York Jets Marcus Maye addressed several happenings from an eventful time on the injury report.

This New York Jets rollercoaster drama involving a star safety appears destined for a happy ending, at least in the immediate future.

Thursday saw safety Marcus Maye speak publicly for the first time since the team announced that he injured his ankle during the Week 3 loss in Denver. The ailment has kept Maye out for the last two games but he’s set to return for the Jets’ return to action on Sunday afternoon in New England (1 p.m. ET, CBS). It’s New York’s first game since taking their mandated week off during Week 6 action.

Much has transpired while Maye recovered: when his initial diagnosis of a three-to-four week injury was announced, Maye’s agent Erik Burkhardt curiously noted that his client would be healthy by the trade deadline on Nov. 2. A February arrest for DUI was also made public, one that Maye failed to inform the Jets about in a violation of league rules.

Maye spent Thursday expressing remorse and setting the record straight. While he was unable and/or unwilling to divulge details of his conversations with the coaching staff stemming from his arrest, he apologized and said he addressed the issue with his teammates.

Time will tell what the future holds for Maye both on and off the field. His immediate prospects, however, won’t involve a change of address if he has anything to say about it.

In Thursday’s statements, Maye clarified that he never asked for a trade. As long as the NFL allows him to do so…discipline could arrive for his failure to report his arrest…he plans to do so in a New York Jets uniform.

“They know I want to be here. They know I’m 100 percent with my guys and teammates and things like that,” Maye said, per Rich Cimini of ESPN. “I feel like they know I’m 100 percent with those guys every time I step on the field.”

“Every time I’m in this building, I’m 100 percent. Every time I’m on the field, I’m 100 percent. I’m going to be with my guys no matter what.”

Maye brushed off the Burkhardt tweet by merely claiming he doesn’t “have control over (Burkhardt’s) phone”. The defender has been the subject of hypothetical deadline deals, as the holder of a $10.6 million franchise tag has been public about his desires to be one of the NFL’s highest-paid safeties. It’s eerily reminiscent of the Jamal Adams saga, one that ended with Adams burning every New York-based bridge he had before the Jets traded him to Seattle in the latter stages of the 2020 offseason. The primary yield was a pair of first-round draft picks, one of which was traded to Minnesota for the right to draft primary left guard Alijah Vera-Tucker.

Maye admits that he has no control over the rumors but vowed to hand what he can handle as the Jets return to the game field.

“My duty is to play football the best as I can,” Maye said, per notes from the Jets.

To that end, Maye expressed no ill will toward the team when they bestowed a four-year extension (accompanied by a guaranteed $30 million) to fellow defender John Franklin-Myers. He instead celebrated the pass rusher’s windfall and hopes to resume talks toward his own when this season ends.

“He deserves it, he earned it, he worked hard for it. That’s my guy. I’m happy for him,” Maye said. “We’re all in different situations…I can’t control what happens to him. But I’m definitely happy for him.”

With extracurriculars set to be sidelined upon Maye’s return, the Jets (1-4) are overjoyed to be welcoming him back as a matchup with a divisional rival’s rookie sensation, Mac Jones, looms large. Through six weeks, the Jets are the only team in the NFL that has yet to earn an interception. Turnovers as a whole have been hard to come by: the Jets earned four fumble recoveries in their five pre-bye contests but half of those came in their most recent showing, a loss in London to the Atlanta Falcons.

New York management is confident that Maye’s rearrival can help further bolster what has otherwise been a pleasantly surprising defensive effort in the early going.

“He heightens everybody just with his awareness and his communication skills,” defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich said of Maye, per team notes. “Although it’s the first year in the system for him, for this particular system, there’s a lot of carry over stuff that he’s done. The veteran presence, it will be big for us back there.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: TE Kenny Yeboah to make NFL debut on Sunday

New York Jets

The New York Jets’ undrafted rookie, who will sub in for the injured Tyler Kroft, became a preseason folk hero last summer.

A New York Jets summer hero is about to make his autumn debut.

Tight end Kenny Yeboah will partake in his first NFL regular season game on Sunday as the Jets battle the Atlanta Falcons in London (9:30 a.m. ET, NFL Network). Yeboah, an undrafted free agent out of Temple and Mississippi, is perhaps best known as the recipient of a 50-yard Hail Mary at the end of the Jets’ preseason finale against Philadelphia in August. It capped off an evening that saw Yeboah earned 100 yards on four receptions, half of which went for touchdowns.

Yeboah’s debut comes in the absence of primary tight end Tyler Kroft, who is out for Sunday’s contest with a back injury. Safeties Marcus Maye and Adrian Colbert are out with concussions, as is receiver Jeff Smith.

The Jets (1-3) face off against an Atlanta team that will be missing several primary contributors. Top receiver Calvin Ridley is missing the game due to personal reasons as will fellow catcher Russell Gage and defensive lineman Marlon Davidson, each of whom are dealing with ankle issues.

While Ridley (1,374 receiving yards in 2020) is a major part of Atlanta’s attack, Jets head coach Robert Saleh said that his absence won’t make a difference in the metropolitan defensive game plan.

“We may see some different personnel groupings, (but it) doesn’t really affect our game plan, it came in so late,” Saleh said, per notes from the Jets. “Ridley is a heck of a football player. But at the same time, they’ve still got a lot of weapons with (running back/receiver) Cordarrelle Patterson, he’s rejuvenated, (quarterback) Matt Ryan can get the ball to anyone. Their draft pick, (tight end) Kyle Pitts, is pretty freaking good. It’s a challenge, they got a lot of weapons over there.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

New York Jets: Blake Cashman cleared to practice

New York Jets

The New York Jets welcomed back the third-year linebacker to practice after he missed the last three games due to hamstring issues.

The New York Jets announced on Wednesday that linebacker Blake Cashman was made eligible to return to practice. Cashman, a third-year Jet, sustained a hamstring injury during New York’s kickoff weekend contest in Carolina and has missed each of the last three games.

Cashman joined the Jets as a fifth-round pick (157th overall) in the 2019 draft. He enjoyed a breakout campaign when C.J. Mosley went down in his rookie season, tallying 40 tackles (3 for a loss) over seven games before he himself was injured. Career momentum has been hard to generate, as ailments have limited Cashman to a mere five games over the last two seasons and 12 in total. He was limited to special teams snaps during the opening loss in Charlotte.

The Jets placed Cashman on injured reserve and he’s eligible to be activated after the three-game absence. He was one of two Jets linebackers missing significant time, as Jarrad Davis and Hamsah Nasirildeen are also on the IR. Mosley has enjoyed a return to form over the first four games, while rookie Jamien Sherwood and waiver wire pick-ups Del’Shawn Phillips and Quincy Williams have also picked up the slack.

Robert Saleh maintained his faith in Cashman despite the lack of game film over the past two seasons.

“It’s a matter of getting on the field and doing it on defense,” the head coach said in August, per Dennis Waszak Jr. of the Associated Press. “He’s done it before, he’s a phenomenal linebacker and we’re really excited to see him get to work.”

New York (1-3) heads overseas in an attempt to start a winning streak in London against the Atlanta Falcons (9:30 a.m. ET, NFL Network).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

New York Jets WR Denzel Mims will be active vs. Tennessee

The sophomore receiver is set to return to the New York Jets’ lineup after spending the last two games as an inactive healthy scratch.

New York Jets head coach announced on Friday that Denzel Mims will be part of the active roster for Sunday’s Week 4 contest against the Tennessee Titans (1 p.m. ET, CBS). Mims, the Jets’ second-round pick from 2020’s virtual draft, has not dressed in either of Gang Green’s prior couple of contests.

The announcement of Mims’ reactivation also came with the declaration that his fellow receivers, Elijah Moore and Jeff Smith, would miss Tennessee’s visit with concussions. Moore was removed in the late stages of last weekend’s loss in Denver while Smith was injured in a car accident on his way to the team’s Florham Park facility this week.

“Denzel will be active this weekend. He’s going to get (an) opportunity,” Saleh said, per notes from the Jets. “Hopefully, he takes advantage of it, and we’re expecting him to. He’s stacked up a third consecutive week of great, deliberate practice. He’s really getting comfortable within the offense. We’re excited to see him get his opp.”

The status of Mims has been one of the premature subplots of the 2021 season. New York (0-3) upgraded its receiver corps with the services of the rookie Moore, Keelan Cole, and former Titan Corey Davis. The new arrivals partly contributed to Mims’ burial on the depth chart while Saleh also expressed concerns that the Baylor alum hadn’t mastered all three receiver positions and did not contribute on special teams.

Saleh said that the Jets were “comfortable” in using Mims on Sunday.

“It’s gotten to the point where he doesn’t even need to talk to the coach anymore,” Saleh said of Mims. “He’s just on the football field, he’s getting himself lined up and you’re seeing the speed and the athleticism that he has. So, just a matter of getting him those opportunities, taking it to Sunday and executing with his teammates and being the guy that we expect him to be.”

In addition to Mims, the Jets are also set to welcome back Jamison Crowder, who missed the first three games of the year after a bout with COVID-19. Crowder has been the Jets’ top receiver over the past two seasons. Defensively, Ashtyn Davis will return after missing the first three games on injured reserve with a foot injury that kept him out of the latter stages of his rookie season. Saleh said that Davis “obviously” won’t be fully available but expect him to work in rotation with Jarrod Wilson and Sharrod Neasman, who was likewise activated from the IR.

On the other side, Tennessee (2-1) will be missing some major contributors, head coach Mike Vrabel confirmed on Friday. Top receivers A.J. Brown and Julio Jones will miss the games with hamstring issues, while primary defenders Bud Dupree (knee) and Caleb Farley (shoulder) will also be missing. Punter Brett Kern (groin) is also out.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags