New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad will miss 6-8 weeks with a broken fibula which he suffered when crashing awkwardly into the boards early in overtime during Sunday night’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers. Zibanejad, who came up limping towards the end of the third period locked skates with Panthers forward, Reilly Smith, as the two fought for the puck as it went behind the net of Henrik Lundqvist. Zibanejad lost his balance and had his skate caught underneath him as he bent awkwardly causing his fibula to break.
While Zibanejad’s scoring touch will be missed, his strength in the the faceoff dot is something that the Rangers are going to miss severely. For a team that is not historically strong at taking faceoffs, to lose the team’s best faceoff man will be a major hit for the team who run more faceoff plays than any other team in the National Hockey League (NHL).
Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault says that Oscar Lindberg will take over Zibenajad’s place spot for the short term while the team travels to Pittsburgh for a division matchup with the the Penguins. However, for the long-run, the question is will the Rangers keep Oscar Lindberg in the lineup or call up rookie Boo Nieves, who played his first National Hockey League (NHL) on November 15 in Vancouver.