New York Daily News

McDonagh doesn’t blame Leaf for shot


RANGERS CAPTAIN Ryan McDonagh skated Monday for the first time since an elbow to the head Thursday by Toronto’s Leo Komarov gave him a jaw contusion and neck spasms.

The defenseman, who took the ice after the team practiced in Greenburgh, won’t play in Tuesday’s game against the Devils in Newark, but A lain Vigneault said McDonagh will take shots Tuesday morning.

“I’ve been progressin­g and getting better here every day,” McDonagh said. “It’s a good sign obviously.”

McDonagh had just returned to the lineup on Wednesday against the Blackhawks after missing four games with a concussion, suffered because of Wayne Simmonds’ sucker-punch in Philadelph­ia on Feb. 6. Komarov nailed McDonagh at 18:58 of the first period the night after the Blackhawks game and was suspended three games. McDonagh said Komarov was apologetic.

“It’s an unfortunat­e hit, a play you want out of this league like many guys have said,” McDonagh said. “I don’t want to see guys suspended. You don’t like to see that. Wish those hits were never part of the game, but obviously they’re gonna happen because it’s a fast-paced game. Things can happen out there without the intent sometimes it looks like. He did try to apologize for it during the game, but I was showering and stuff so we didn’t meet up. But he did message me, so I was real appreciati­ve to see that.”

McDonagh was relieved he didn’t suffer another concussion and knew quickly it wasn’t a reoccurren­ce because the concussion test was much easier.

“I wa s able to clear it fine,” he said. “From that aspect it was good, but it was f r ust rat i ng. I was pretty upset about the whole timing of everything, and now kind of having to start over again and get ramped up again from the start. But like I said, grateful it wasn’t another concussion. Don’t have to go through the whole testing protocol for that. I’m feeling a lot closer now than I was coming off the last one at this point.”

McDonagh plans on going on the team’s upcoming road trip to St. Louis and Dallas. He hasn’t yet discussed with the training staff whether he’ll need added protection for his jaw. The 26-year-old is trying to keep a soft diet because he feels pain when biting down too hard. The jaw, he says, is more bothersome than his neck.

Vigneault said Rick Nash (left leg bone bruise) told him he’s “coming along.” Nash remains week-to-week.

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