Michael Sauer was beginning to establish himself as one of the Rangers' best defenseman, before a vicious hit by Dion Phaneuf left him concussed. That was in December, and he did not play the rest of the season.
Rangers coach John Tortorella says that Sauer is still struggling in his recovery: [via USA Today]
"Michael has not responded that well, I'll be quite honest, and I do not think you'll see him at the beginning of the season," Tortorella told fans Sunday at a dog-walking event he set up to raise money for the Westchester Humane Society and area shelters. "That's a big hole for us. Michael played very well for us, and we certainly missed him during the playoff run. I think it's going to be a little bit of time before Michael resumes his career."
That's unfortunate news for Sauer, and unfortunate news for the Rangers. With Sauer, the Rangers have incredible depth at defense. Their defense corp would be:
That's a formidable group, as a Tortorella intimated, it hurt them in the playoffs.
Five games might not be the difference between an injured and healthy Sauer. But it might be the difference between him playing this season and not. Sauer was going to miss the beginning of the season anyway; but now, he might not miss as many games as we would've without the cancellation.
Of course, it is too soon to say how Sauer will continue in his recovery. But if he can have the extra five games, it could see him back a bit sooner.