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Avery practices; Callahan improving

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
Rangers Sign Defenseman Baldwin

Sunday's Game Recap

By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com

After suffering an injury during Sunday's game at Boston, Rangers forward Sean Avery was given the day off from practice on Monday for "maintenance" purposes. He returned to practice on Tuesday.
The Rangers received a double dose of good news on the injury front Tuesday.

Forward Sean Avery took part in the full team practice at the MSG Training Center, one day after sitting out on Monday. Avery had blocked a shot during Sunday afternoon’s contest up in Boston and was limping badly after the game.

“He’s fine,” head coach John Tortorella said about Avery after practice on Tuesday. “That’s just a blocked shot. It’s a bruise.”

Tortorella also said that he fully expects Avery, who has three goals and four points in his last four games, to be able to play on Wednesday against the Islanders at Madison Square Garden.

As for Ryan Callahan, the Rangers alternate captain sat out practice for a second straight day after suffering a right-leg injury up in Boston. However Callahan reported that he felt better on Tuesday than he did on Monday and that he was able to ride the stationary bike while his teammates were on the ice Tuesday.

“Obviously I was sore (Monday), the day after (the injury), but I got a good bike ride in today and it didn’t hurt at all so that’s good progress today,” explained Callahan.

Callahan, who is second on the team with 19 goals, also said that he will skate on his own in Westchester on Wednesday morning to determine whether or not he will be able to play against the Islanders.

“If there is a way for me to be out there then I am going to be out there,” Callahan stated emphatically. “I want to help this team and do everything I can to help us move on here and get some wins.”

All About the Power Play

The Rangers spent their entire 45-minute on-ice workout on Monday practicing the power play. At Boston on Sunday, the Rangers went without a goal in six power-play opportunities, including a four-minute double-minor assessed to Chara while the game was still scoreless in the second period.

“Today we worked on, really, three things: our entries (into the offensive zone), shooting the puck when (the open shot) is available, and our battles as far as getting a second whack at it,” said Tortorella.

The head coach was very animated in offering advice to the players during Monday’s practice, and could be heard encouraging defenseman Michal Rozsival to shoot the puck more. Rozsival was playing on the top power-play unit, paired on the blueline with rookie Michael Del Zotto, while Marian Gaborik, Erik Christensen, and Brandon Dubinsky skated up front.

The second power-play grouping at practice had Vinny Prospal, Chris Drury, and Artem Anisimov up front with Matt Gilroy and Marc Staal paired at the points.

“Our power play is so important,” Prospal said after Monday’s practice. “I mean special teams win games. We haven’t been getting the power play goals we have needed recently. That has to change.”

The Rangers had three power plays in the first period on Sunday and three more in the second, all while the game was still scoreless. Those prime chances passed by before Boston finally scored the first goal late in the second period.

“Our first power play was pretty good, but then it went downhill from there,” said Del Zotto. “We couldn’t get the puck in their end and then when we did, our puck retrieval was not as good as it should have been.”

Tortorella said that he was experimenting with different players in different positions on the power play during Monday’s practice, but there was no guarantee these units would remain intact, especially if Avery and/or Callahan can play on Wednesday.
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