The New York Rangers currently sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 67 points, but are only one point ahead of the third place Philadelphia Flyers. They are still greatly in danger of falling out of the playoffs if a losing streak is sustained due to how close each team in the Eastern Conference is to each other.
Well, that danger is now a strong possibility after the official news finally surfaced that forward, and the current team leader in points, Mats Zuccarello is going to miss 3-4 weeks. This equals about 3-5 games for the Rangers. This is due to a small non-displaced fracture on his left hand that he received while blocking a shot for Team Norway in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Yes, once again the Winter Olympics finds a way to hurt the Rangers’ regular season, as well as a few other teams in the NHL, due to the leagues’ crazy allowance of NHL players in the Winter Olympics. When you have a contractual obligation to your NHL team, like Zuccarello has with the Rangers, and you go off to play for your country in the Olympics and in turn get injured which forces you to miss games for your NHL team, it is wrong on so many levels. I feel the NHL needs to put a stop to this and disallow their players from playing in the Winter Olympics. But I digress.
As for the Rangers, let’s just say for arguments sake he misses five games. In those five games the Rangers will be playing the Chicago Blackhawks, Flyers, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes. Four out of the five games are against Eastern Conference teams, all which are huge and could make or break the Rangers’ season.
With no Zuccarello and possibly more injuries yet to come because the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics are still going on, the Rangers’ 2013-14 NHL regular season could be taking a major turn for the worse.