was for one of their very few bright spots to be shut down for a long while.
Rookie defenseman Tomas Kloucek suffered a torn ACL and MCL in a game Sunday
in Atlanta. The injury occurred when Kloucek tried to hit Thrashers forward
Ray Ferraro. Kloucek has been a pleasant surprise for the Rangers this year.
At just 21 years old, he has shown the ability to play great defensive hockey
and has become a physical force to be reckoned with. The play of Kloucek
along with players like Mike Mottau, Peter Smrek, Dale Purinton and other
young defensemen has been one of the best stories for the Rangers in
2000-2001. Because Kloucek’s injury happened so late into the season, doctors
say it is likely his rehab will continue well, into next season. Kloucek who
played in 43 games with the Rangers this year, had a goal and 4 assists for 5
points. He also rang up 74 penalty minutes and was a minus 3. Minus 3 isn’t
all that bad on a team that has been playing defensive hockey like the
Rangers have. All the Rangers can do now is pray that nothing like this
happens to anyone else in their final few games, that more or less are
meaningless. Then they can sit through a long summer and play golf or
whatever it is an overpaid hockey player does. Then hopefully with players
like Pavel Brendl and Jamie Lundmark in the lineup and a healthy Tomas
Kloucek they can get back to the playoffs, were the team with the league’s
highest payroll belongs.