New York Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto has parted ways with Swiss club Rapperswil-Jona, according to multiple sources.
The news is intriguing on two fronts: 1) Del Zotto is the second Ranger to leave Switzerland with an injury over the last few days — on Friday, Rick Nash left Davos and returned to New York with a groin injury.
2) Del Zotto doesn’t have an NHL contract.
The 22-year-old RFA wasn’t able to reach an extension with the Blueshirts prior to the start of the lockout, meaning he entered the work stoppage in the most precarious of positions.
It took Del Zotto nearly two months to find the right European deal — he inked with Rapperswil in early November — and the obvious concern was the possibility of getting hurt.
Thankfully for Del Zotto, the back issue isn’t believed to be serious. Larry Brooks of the New York Post classified the ailment as “mild stiffness” and it sounds as though the departure was precautionary more than anything else.
Wild must overcome Alex Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick
Dion Phaneuf‘s first home game as a member of the Ottawa Senators is going more smoothly than his debut did on Wednesday.
Ottawa fell 3-1 to the Detroit Red Wings last night, and they need another goal to tie up the Colorado Avalanche. Still, Phaneuf’s making a bigger impact on Thursday, collecting two assists … his first two points in a Sens’ sweater.
You can see his crowd-pleasing first helper above.
Here’s his second assist for good measure:
Update: The Avalanche held on, taking a 4-3 edge. Even so, Phaneuf’s getting a warm welcome in his new hockey city.
Phaneuf on the Ottawa crowd reaction: "It gave me chills."