Goaltender has missed entire season

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers goaltender Dan Blackburn, sidelined all season by nerve damage in his left shoulder, will undergo exploratory surgery Wednesday.

Team physician Dr. Andrew Feldman and Dr. Lou Biglianni will perform the procedure at Columbia University Hospital. The team set no timetable for his return, but Blackburn told the Toronto Globe and Mail recently that recovery typically is four to six months.

Blackburn, 20, injured the shoulder while working out last summer, then separated it and suffered nerve damage during a conditioning camp in August. Recovery has been slow and frustrating, he said.

"The doctors keep telling me just to wait longer," Blackburn told the Globe and Mail. "They say that's the best course of action. That's what I've been doing for the better part of nine months, and I still haven't really seen much of a result from it."

The 10th overall pick in the 2001 draft, Blackburn won NHL All-Rookie honors in 2001-02 after going 12-16-0 with a 3.28 goals-against average in 31 games.

Blackburn struggled in his second season, going 8-16-4 with a 3.17 GAA in 32 games. But he blanked the Calgary Flames on Nov. 7, 2002 to become the youngest player in team history to record a shutout.