While the New York Rangers try to climb back into playoff contention, they'll have to fight through a tough stretch of games without one of their best players.
According to local reports, Brendan Shanahan will miss this week's home-and-home series against the Atlantic rival New Jersey Devils and he might sit the rest of the month as he deals with postconcussion symptoms after a collision during Saturday's game vs. Philadelphia.
There is no exact timetable for his return.
The 38-year-old left winger was knocked unconscious and sustained a concussion when he
slammed into Philadelphia's Mike Knuble during the third period of
New York's 5-3 loss to the Flyers.
Shanahan skated toward the bench as Knuble came the other way.
Neither player saw the other and they slammed shoulder-to-shoulder.
Shanahan went flying backward and struck his head against the ice
at 7:27 of the period.
He stayed down for about 10 minutes with his eyes closed.
Shanahan was fitted with a neck brace and strapped to a board
before leaving the ice.
Shanahan was hospitalized overnight and released Sunday, later visiting the Rangers' locker room prior to their game against the Blackhawks. Clearly, he inspired New York to a 2-1 win.
Rangers coach Tom Renney said Sunday there didn't appear to be any neurological damage. Shanahan left the hospital after a morning
Knuble broke the orbital bone and cheekbone on the right side of
his face in the violent collision. He will undergo surgery in the
next few days once swelling decreases. Shanahan showed no other serious injuries other than the
concussion, but is experiencing overall soreness.
Teammate Aaron Ward spoke to Shanahan on Saturday night and said the two cracked jokes. Ward said Shanahan didn't sound groggy. Renney hadn't yet reached the star forward, who hit the 600-goal mark earlier this season -- his first with the Rangers. Shanahan leads the team with 28 goals.
Every contest is critical for the Rangers, who are fighting to make a second straight postseason appearance. New York enter Tuesday's game in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, three places and three points below the playoff cutoff.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.