The hits just keep on coming for the blue line of the New York Rangers
Already without Marc Staal
and Michael Sauer
, the team announced Monday that Steve Eminger
would be out 8-10 weeks with a separated right shoulder suffered during the Rangers' 3-2 win against the Phoenix Coyotes
The Rangers have since recalled defensemen Stu Bickel
and Tim Erixon
from the AHL's Connecticut Whale. Bickel will take Eminger's spot, while Erixon was recalled on an emergency basis in case Jeff Woywitka
(foot) can't play Tuesday night against the New Jersey Devils
Staal hasn't played a game this season due to concussion symptoms, but there is some positive news to report about the team's No. 1 defenseman. He has been skating with the club for the past week and said Monday if things continue to go well, he could be cleared for contact soon.
The news is less encouraging for Sauer, who suffered a concussion against the Toronto Maple Leafs
on Dec. 5. Rangers coach John Tortorella said Monda that Sauer "won't be with us for a bit."
The injuries haven't prevented the Rangers from getting off to a great start. They are 18-8-4 with 40 points, only three fewer than the East-leading Philadelphia Flyers
. The two will meet in the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 2 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
, Ryan McDonagh
and Michael Del Zotto
-- the Rangers' three best and healthiest defensemen this season -- have been a big reason along with goaltender Henrik Lundqvist
for the Rangers allowing just 2.13 goals per game, fourth-best in the League.