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Sammy Blais’ recovery from ACL surgery won’t stop him from making an impact on 2022 Rangers

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Sammy Blais - New York Rangers
Nick Faria – AMNY

When Sammy Blais tore his ACL in Mid-November of last season, the Rangers lost a key veteran presence in the locker room. New York was able to make the most of the former Blues’ absence, though on their way to their first Eastern Conference Finals appearance since 2014.

Now fully healthy, Blais is back with the Rangers and is more driven than ever to make his mark on the club. 

“I’m feeling pretty good out there just getting back into the rhythm and everything,” Blais told AMNY Tuesday. “Everything is going back according to plan.”

The “plan” as Blais calls it has been a microcosm of an interesting start to his NHL career. A member of the St. Louis Blues championship team in 2019. The lone player that was sent to New York as part of the Pavel Buchnevich trade in July of 2021, Blais played in just 14 games before suffering his devastating ACL injury.

Blais’ recovery from ACL surgery wasn’t easy, but the way he went about the recovery process was something that the Rangers leadership group appreciated. 

“He was sorely missed, obviously on the ice, but it’s a bummer for you guys not being able to be around the team as much last year to see the kind of impact he has.” Chris Kreider told AMNY.  “It’s heartbreaking every single day to through and he just never complained. Never had a bad day, put his head down, and worked his ass off.” 

Blais has seen a lot of training camp action with Kreider and Mika Zibanejad on the first line. While the lines aren’t final according to the coaching staff and fans should expect many changes over the next week, it’s clear that Blais has looked solid with the two long-term Rangers. As much joy as Blais brought to the club while being on the sidelines, it was still hard for the 26-year-old to watch his teammates make the deep Stanley Cup Playoff run as they did. 

“I love playing hockey. Being unable to be on the ice with the team last year was hard and hard mentally. I’m just excited to be back on the ice and I’m just excited to help this team win.” Blais responded. 

The hard work that Blais put in during his rehab process gave the forward a chance to skate with the team during the playoffs even though there wasn’t a chance the Rangers would have him back during their run. 

Now almost a full year after suffering his injury, the coaching staff has not seen any limitations to his play. 

“Great shape. It’s been 10 months since he played. He worked really hard. Everything’s going according to plan right now so he looks really good.” head coach Gerard Gallant said. 

Gallant later added that although Blais would not see time in Tuesday’s scrimmage against the Boston Bruins, it was all part of his process of getting him back up to speed. 

“We’re just trying to give him some time to get ready to go and have some good hard practices,” Gallant said after Tuesday’s skate. 

There are a lot of forwards jockeying for a spot on the opening day roster for the New York Rangers. Sammy Blais might be expected to contribute right away but that’s exactly the way he likes it. As New York prepares for their next run of preseason games, the eyes will be turned to how their recovering forward looks on the ice for the first time in 10 months. 

If it was anything like his recovery process, the Blais and the Rangers are in for a big year. 

For more Sammy Blais and New York Rangers news, turn to AMNY.com

 

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