It wasn’t planned that Michael Sauer would return to the Rangers on the night the refurbished Garden opened its doors.
It just worked out that way.
Sauer, who had missed the last five games of the Rangers’ cross-continental road trip, started last night’s game and played 21:42. Initially he was partnered with Michael Del Zotto, but the pair struggled and John Tortorella broke them up.
“I wanted to get back as soon as I could,” Sauer said Thursday morning.
Sauer initially injured his shoulder when he was checked from behind by Tom Sestito in a preseason loss against the Flyers. He aggravated the injury during the two regular-season, opening games in Sweden.
“It’s going to be sore for awhile,” Sauer acknowledged. “It’ll be fine as long as I have strength in the muscles that support it.”
John Tortorella played coy when he met with reporters. He said he was “not sure,” when asked who would be scratched. When the official roster was released 10 minutes before the game, Mike Rupp and Jeff Woywitka were the scratches.
Reimer on injured reserve
The Leafs put No. 1-goaltender James Reimer on injured reserve with what the organization termed whiplash before the game. Reimer suffered the injury in the first period of Toronto’s 5-4 OT win over the Canadiens in Montreal when he was elbowed in the head by Brian Gionta.
Jonas Gustavsson hinted to reporters after the Leafs’ early skate at the Garden that Reimer may have suffered a concussion. Toronto coach Ron Wilson was not pleased when informed of what his backup goaltender had said.
“The doctors haven’t said that to me. Last time I checked, I don’t have a medical degree and I don’t think the Monster does, either. So until we’re told something like that this is a day-to-day thing,” Wilson said sarcastically.
We want Avery
Let’s just say that not every Rangers fan was enamored with John Tortorella’s decision to demote Sean Avery to the Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League. A banner on the Seventh Avenue side of the Garden read: 16 AVERY SEND TORTS TO THE WHALE. The sign was taken down during the first period. Loud “We want Avery” and “A-very!” chants reverberated throughout the building in the final minutes.
Follow Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman for more news on the Rangers.