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New York's Drury a go for Wednesday

by Dan Rosen /

"Barring anything, I would assume I'll be in. I don't anticipate any issues."
-- Chris Drury

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The New York Rangers will get an important piece back for Wednesday's game in Florida as captain Chris Drury is set to return for the first time since suffering a concussion in Calgary two-and-a-half weeks ago.

"Barring anything, I would assume I'll be in," Drury said after Tuesday's practice. "I don't anticipate any issues."

The center has missed the last five games and virtually all of that Calgary game on Nov. 7.

Rangers coach John Tortorella was more direct, saying that Drury, who played only 19 seconds before Flames forward Curtis Glencross caught him with a blindsided hit to the head, is definitely going to be in and he's not going to worry about managing the captain's minutes, either.

Drury will likely center a line that includes Ryan Callahan on the right and Enver Lisin on the left.

"I'm not a coach that is going to say, 'Well, do I just get him the eight or nine minutes?' He's going to play," Tortorella said. "If I don't think he can play at a certain time of the game I'll give him a rest; but we're going full bore with him as we start against Florida."

Drury's return is huge for the Rangers, who are still without center Brandon Dubinsky (broken hand). Given that Drury is a center coming back into the lineup, Tortorella finally doesn't have to contemplate putting a winger in the middle.

Monday night, Tortorella had Callahan, who has played right wing since he came into the NHL, in the middle of Ales Kotalik and Lisin. Christopher Higgins, normally a left wing, had been playing center until moving to back to the wing so he could play on the top line with Vinny Prospal and Marian Gaborik for Monday's game.

Without Drury, who is 50 percent in the faceoff circle, the Rangers won 48.5 percent of the faceoffs during the past five games. Prospal, Artem Anisimov and Brian Boyle are the Rangers' other centers.

"We get another center in there, so yeah it will solidify things," Tortorella said. "You lose people up the middle with faceoffs, as we have seen here in the last five games. It bounces things around on different lines."

Kotalik suffered what Tortorella called a "body injury" Monday after taking a hard hit near the net. He will be a game-time decision Wednesday.

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