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Rangers expected to get Dubinsky, Fedotenko back

by Dave Lozo
NEW YORK -- The Rangers received a wealth of good news on the injury front Tuesday morning.

Both Brandon Dubinsky (shoulder) and Ruslan Fedotenko (back) are expected to be in the lineup against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. Dubinsky has missed the last three games, while Fedotenko sat out the Rangers' most recent game against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday.

Coach John Tortorella said he wants to make sure Dubinsky and Fedotenko feel good enough to play in the hours following Tuesday's practice, but he believes they'll be back. Kris Newbury was optioned to the Connecticut Whale on Monday afternoon and Wojtek Wolski would be a healthy scratch if Dubinsky and Fedotenko both give Tortorella a thumb's up.

Dubinsky said the reason for his extended absence had more to do with the Rangers playing three games in four nights and not the injury. He said if this was the playoffs, he wouldn't have missed a game.

"There's always aches and pains when you're 45 games into the season," Dubinsky said. "It's not just me playing through a little bit of pain. It's bearable. It's nothing that's going to keep me out."

It didn't stop there for the Rangers.

Defenseman Michael Sauer, out with a concussion since he taking a massive hit from Toronto's Dion Phaneuf on Dec. 5 that sent his helmet flying and head crashing into the boards, skated for the second time since the injury.

Sauer skated during the Rangers' off-day Monday and with the team Tuesday in an orange, non-contact jersey Tuesday. He said he's been symptom-free for about 10 days, and the team considers him day-to-day for now.

When asked about the hit that caused the injury, Sauer said the reason his helmet came off had nothing to do with him not wearing his helmet properly. He said the force of the hit broke the chin strap, pushed the visor down on his face and popped the helmet off the back of his head. Sauer believes if he wasn't wearing a visor, his helmet would've remained in place.

"Every concussion is different," Sauer said when asked if Marc Staal, who missed the first 36 games of the season with concussion issues, offered any advice. "You have to listen to your body, your head. If your head's not feeling good, and you're not seeing things and you're forgetting stuff, it's probably a symptom. We just wanted to get myself to the point where I was feeling good. Once I started feeling good enough for a long enough period of time, they decided to get me on the bike, get me moving."

Defenseman Steve Eminger, who suffered a separated shoulder against the Phoenix Coyotes on Dec. 17, skated for the first time since his injury. He said he doesn't expect to be back until after the All-Star break.

Defenseman Jeff Woywitka, who has a bone bruise in his foot, also took part in practice after being shut down for a week.

In non-injury news, the Rangers will start Henrik Lundqvist in net against the Predators. He'll be opposed by backup Anders Lindback, who will get a rare start in place of Pekka Rinne.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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