By RICK CARPINIELLO
Original Publication: January 11, 2001
Rye – Another red flag went up regarding the rebuilt left knee of Rangers goalie Mike Richter yesterday. Richter had swelling in the knee and had to have fluid drained by Dr. Tony Maddalo. Richter, who had not had the knee drained previously said he was assured by Dr. Maddalo that there was no cause for concern, and that "he was surprised it wasnt like this earlier in the year." "He assured me it's not damaged, it's just a repercussion from having it repaired," Richter said.
Richter also said that the fluid removed from the knee was thick, an indication that it had been there a long time. He had reconstructive surgery last April, after suffering the injury at the All-Star Game skills competition in Toronto last February.
Richter did not skate yesterday and won't today, but he fully plans to practice tomorrow and be available to play in at least one of the weekend games (at Boston Saturday, against Minnesota Sunday), if not both. Rangers coach Ron Low said that Richter will be reassessed tomorrow and probably won't play both games.
Low hopes to have rookie Vitali Yeremeyev up for practice today, Yeremeyev has missed a week and a half with a groin injury at Hartford (AHL), but has been cleared to resume full practice. Yeremeyev could get a start this week for the Rangers.
The latest setback for Richter—who had to be placed on injured reserve for a week in December because of fatigue—comes just as his struggling game is starting to get in order.
Prior to the 2-1 loss to Dallas Monday, Richter had allowed four goals or more in 12 of 20 starts. Richter did allow a bad one that turned out to be the game-winning short-handed goal by Dallas' Shaun Van Allen Monday, but all in all, he has felt more comfortable the last three games even though the knee has been troublesome and swelling since just before Christmas. "I thought the game in Phoenix was a huge step forward," Low said. "I thought, there's been a couple bad goals, and they've been the backhand variety, which those will get you anyway. I think he's been positioned better, he hasn't been scrambling as much, he's been keeping pucks with him. There aren't as many rebounds, That's the biggest thing.