Right knee sprain sidelines blueliner

Updated: January 9, 2004, 7:07 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Rangers defenseman Greg de Vries, one of the NHL's most durable players, will be out four to six weeks with a ligament sprain in his right knee.

The injury to the Rangers' most dependable and consistent defenseman occurred in the second period Thursday night of New York's 3-2 loss at Carolina.

De Vries was playing in his 223rd consecutive NHL game, the sixth longest active streak in the league, when he was met by a hard, clean check from Hurricanes defenseman Bob Boughner during his first shift of the period.

"I came off the boards and I felt something was wrong," said de Vries, who didn't return to the game.

An MRI exam Friday revealed a second-degree sprain of his medial collateral ligament.

The defenseman signed a four-year, $13-million deal with the Rangers last summer after spending the previous five seasons with the Colorado Avalanche. He has three goals and eight assists with a plus-17 rating in 40 games.

He was a plus-1 on Thursday, marking the 22nd time in 23 games de Vries has posted a plus or even rating -- going plus-18 over the span and recording six of his 11 points.

"It's a tough time of the year to lose a guy like that," said Glen Sather, the Rangers coach and general manager.

The Rangers didn't immediately announce any roster moves. Their next game is Saturday against the rival New York Islanders.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press