Tests on Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (l.) return negative after this vicious elbow from Maple Leafs center Leo Komarov (c.) but he will still sit out Sunday night.
Ryan McDonagh’s Saturday CT scan revealed no damage past a contusion to his jaw.
The Rangers remain relieved he did not sustain a second concussion in a two-week span on Thursday night’s elbow to the head from Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov, but their captain still was experiencing effects of the hit as he sat out Sunday night’s home game against the Detroit Red Wings.
“Everything was fine. Everything was negative,” coach Alain Vigneault said pre-game Sunday at the Garden. “But he’s still having issues with the jaw and neck spasms. So nothing’s changed in that sense. He’s still day-to-day.”
So rookie defenseman Dylan McIlrath returned after a healthy scratch in Toronto to try and bounce back from Wednesday night’s shaky outing against Chicago. Vigneault recently offered his strongest endorsement yet of McIlrath’s ability and praised his “strong” all-around performance last Sunday against the Flyers.
“Dylan is a young man that’s trying to get both feet in the NHL and show he can play in this league on a regular basis,” said Vigneault, who played McIlrath in only four of the Rangers’ 16 games from Dec. 28-Feb. 6, dressed him in the next five, and then scratched him in Toronto. “I think he can. I think he’s got the size, the skill set. He’s got everything to be able to play in this league on a regular basis.”
Vigneault said Rangers management returned Saturday night’s Hartford Wolf Pack game with glowing scouting reports on rookie defenseman Brady Skjei ($ 925,000 cap hit) and veteran Raphael Diaz ($ 700,000), but he admitted financial considerations will prevent more call-ups before the Feb. 29 trade deadline.
“There’s no doubt that Brady Skjei has taken some big strides since the last time we saw him,” Vigneault said. “Diaz played extremely well, so we’ve got a couple options there.”
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