After a day off on Friday, the Rangers returned to work Saturday morning at the MSG Training Center for a 45-minute practice, in preparation for Sunday's 8:00 PM home contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Forward Ruslan Fedotenko once again did not practice with his teammates on Saturday. he has not skated since taking part in Tuesday's full-team morning skate in Boston, and has not played in ten days---missing the last four games with an unspecified injury after being hit in the head in a game against Tampa Bay on February 7th.
Following practice Rangers head coach John Tortorella said he had no update on Fedotenko's condition, nor anything new on the condition of concussed defenseman Michael Sauer.
Both forward Wojtek Wolski and Jeff Woywitka---who completed two-week conditioning stints with the Connecticut Whale earlier in the week took part in practice, with Wolski skating alongside John Mitchell and Mike Rupp most of the on-ice workout. However after practice Tortorella said that he would go with "the same lineup" Sunday night, meaning rookie Stu Bickel would once again fill Fedotenko's spot on the fourth line and that Wolski would be scratched.
As for Woywitka, he says that his injured foot is completely healed and that he is prepared for any role the coaching staff has in mind for him.
"It was good for me to go down there and get some games in," explained Woywitka. "I haven't really talked to anybody since I came back up here, but I realize the team is playing really well and I want to support what's going on here. Whatever they ask me to do, I will do."
As for speculation swirling around the NHL that the Rangers could make a deal at or near the February 27th deadline, the players and their coach cast aside any concern that trade rumors would cause any unrest in the Blueshirts dressing room.
"I think my name comes up (in rumors) every year," explained Brandon Dubinsky. "You can't think about it. It's part of the game. It's not like I feel unwanted here. If (a trade ever) does happen, it will suck. Obviously I love it here. Would it be hard if it ever happened? Of course. I love this organization."
Tortorella said he was only worried about what is in front of his team---Sunday's game with Columbus---and not with the trade deadline.
"I'm not even thinking about it, it's not even in my thinking at all," stated the head coach. "I like this hockey club. But every organization goes through it. The owners and general managers are always trying to improve their team. But I don't even think about (the deadline)."
Share your thoughts below on today's news from practice.