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No More Yellow Jersey For Captain Cally

The Rangers held an optional practice Wednesday morning at the MSG Training Center, with all but three players taking part. Veterans Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, and Brad Richards worked out off the ice while their teammates took part in a 45-minute on-ice session.

Likely the best news of the day was that team captain Ryan Callahan not only took part in the practice, but that he no longer was wearing the yellow non-contact jersey to protect his subluxed left shoulder. Cleared for contact, Callahan was able to take part in all aspects of practice, and was upbeat about how his shoulder felt once the practice was over.

"I had a little more contact today, some pushing and shoving, and (my shoulder) reacted good out there," explained the Rangers captain. "This is just the next step, trying a little contact today. It feels really good, and it reacted well after yesterday which was another day where I pushed it harder. Now we have to see how it reacts after a little contact today. But it feels good, and there are no limitations with it."

Callahan, who has missed three games since suffereing the injury eight days ago in a game against the Flyers, was not willing to say when he thought he could return to the lineup, or if he thought he could play in Thursday's contest with the Islanders at The Garden.

"Anything is possible," said Callahan on the prospect of a return to the lineup Thursday. "It all depends. I am a day to day right now. We'll see how it goes from there."

The Rangers are 1-2-0 without Callahan in the lineup, sandwiching an impressive 3-2 road win in Tampa on Saturday with a 3-0 home-ice loss to the Penguins last Thursday and last night's 3-1 defeat in New Jersey.

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Girardi did not play Tuesday, the team reporting he was "banged up", and on Wednesday head coach John Tortorella would only say "whatever happened (with Girardi not playing) it needed to happen". When pressed as to a longer-term prognosis of Girardi's health status, Tortorella simply stated he was "not sure".

With Girardi unable to play Tuesday, Marc Staal (26:07) and Michael Del Zotto (24:54) formed the top defensive pair against the Devils. Del Zotto wa son ice for all three of New Jersey's goals, while Staal was on ice for the first. 

Ryan McDonagh (24:39) paired with Anton Stralman (season-high 22:59 and a +1) on the Rangers second defense pairing, while Matt Gilroy and Stu Bickel teamed on the third grouping. Steve Eminger was the healthy defensive scratch for the fourth straight game.

Feb 6 - 6:19pm
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