From the “Hmm, interesting” file: New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, who has not played this season due a post-concussion syndrome, traveled for the first time as the Blueshirts made their way to Florida this afternoon.
The Rangers will face the Panthers on Wednesday before flying back up to Washington for a date with the Caps on Friday.
Staal isn’t the only injured Ranger making the trip. Forwards Mike Rupp (knee) and Wojtek Wolski (hernia) are also on IR and flying down to the Sunshine State, according to Blueshirts United.
Couple ways to look at this.
Option A: Teams often fly injured players on road trips as they’re good opportunities for team-building and whatnot. (By team-building we mean making rookies drop $13k on dinner, then getting bottle service at the Lotus Lounge.) It’s what the Flyers did a couple weeks ago in Naples, for example. The problem with this theory is the Rangers are only in Florida for one game and don’t have much down time between contests.
Option B: Injured players sometimes travel with the team to get back “in the groove” (for lack of a better term) prior to returning. It’s a way to get reacquainted with time zone changes, sleeping in different hotel beds and the joys of airport security. While this might be the case for Rupp and Wolski, it’s not for Staal. He only recently received medical clearance to begin light workouts and is a ways from returning to game action.
Option C: It’s pouring rain in New York right now and they simply wanted to catch some rays. I could totally see Wolski showing up at JFK in Bermuda shorts and sunglasses, with zinc oxide on his nose.