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Christensen headed to AHL for conditioning stint

Scratched for ten straight games, Erik Christensen has accepted a two-week conditioning stint with the Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League.

The 28-year-old center will travel to Philadelphia Wednesday to meet the team and head to Norfolk for the Whale's back-to-bet set against the Admirals this weekend.

Christensen said he is "fine" with the Rangers' request and is looking forward to playing again. The skilled-yet-inconsistent center has played only four games since November 23.

"I'm encouraged about it. I'm excited to play," Christensen said. "I haven't played in a while. It's a business and this is the best league in the world. I love hockey and I want to play. It hasn't been a lot of fun getting bag-skated for the past month or two. I'm looking forward to playing again."

Christensen's inability to crack the lineup has only become more difficult as the 27-9-4 Blueshirts has climbed atop the league standings. He admitted it has been a tough stretch for him to endure.

"That's the toughest thing about being out for so long is that it's not the physical, it's the mental. It's how you handle it mentally," said Christensen, who has one goal and four assists in 20 games this season. "I've had some bad days where it feels pretty hopeless, but I think today's a good day. I'm going down there and I'll be playing hockey again. That's the only thing that matters."

Coach John Tortorella confirmed it was an easy conversation to have with Christensen. Both parties believe that having him go down and play some games is the best alternative to watching from the press box.

"It's for the right reason," Tortorella said. "He's been out a lot. He needs to play."

Before Tuesday's 2-1 shootout win over the Coyotes, Tortorella said conditioning stints for both Christensen and Wojtek Wolski were "being discussed." And while Christensen has accepted his assignment, Wolski's situation remains unresolved.

The situation is somewhat fluid give Brandon Dubinsky's status for Thursday's game against the Senators. Dubinsky -- who missed a shift in Tuesday's game with what is believed to be a shoulder injury -- is a game-time decision Thursday. Tortorella said Wolski will play if Dubinsky can't -- Wolski skated in his place in practice Wednesday --but the team has also broached the possibility of sending him to Hartford if Dubinsky is healthy.

"He's still in discussion with his people," Tortorella said.

Wolski declined to say whether he'd be open to accepting a two-week conditioning stint and deferred the question to his agent.