Sauer originally was hurt back on Dec. 5, 2011 when he was checked into the boards by Dion Phaneuf of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He left the game after sustaining a concussion from the hit and has never returned since.
Rangers head coach John Tortorella last officially spoke of Sauer in September, when he stated that he was doubtful Sauer would return for the beginning of the 2012-2013 season whenever the NHL lockout ended.
“I don’t think you’ll see Michael. Michael hasn’t responded that well—I’ll be quite honest—I do not think you’ll see him at the beginning of the season.”
There hasn’t been much discussion at all regarding the status of Sauer, and so I posed the question today for Cerny on Twitter, to which he responded:
— Jim Cerny (@JimCerny) February 25, 2013
As Tortorella said back in September, the loss of Sauer for any amount of time is a big hole defensively for the Rangers. And at a time when fellow defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi are tending to injuries of their own, now more than ever it would be so valuable to have someone like Sauer back in the lineup.
Unfortunately, barring any major breakthroughs, the Dec. 5 game against the Maple Leafs may be Sauer’s last game in the NHL, or at least as a Ranger. Sauer has remained on the injured reserve since the incident and his contract is up at the end of this season. Sauer’s $1.25 million average annual cap hit does not count against the Rangers overall cap since he is on the IR.