Rangers send Filip Chytil home after hard collision

Filip Chytil was transported back to New York first thing Monday morning to see doctors after suffering an upper-body injury from a hard collision halfway through the Rangers’ 3-2 loss in Pittsburgh the night before.

Head coach David Quinn didn’t elaborate on the severity of the 21-year-old center’s injury, but it’s more than likely he will miss at least the next two games in Buffalo.

“If we do lose him for an extended period of time it is going to be a blow,” Quinn said. “But every team in the league is suffering injuries and we’re no different. I mean, that’s pro sports, certainly it’s the National Hockey League.

“We’ve got to have guys pick up the slack if he is out for an extended period of time.”

With the Rangers up 1-0 in the second period Sunday, Chytil carried the puck into the Penguins’ zone before he crashed into Pittsburgh forward Evan Rodrigues. Both players went down hard and were slow to get up. Chytil remained on the bench for a bit, but was clearly shaken up. He ultimately went to the locker room and did not return.

Chytil, who is in his fourth season with the Rangers, has been the backbone of the team’s offensive production, with two goals and an assist through the first five games of the season. He seemingly took the largest developmental step compared to some of the other young players on the team, and was just beginning to find a rhythm with his linemates in Phil Di Giuseppe and Kaapo Kakko.

Filip Chytil
Filip Chytil
Getty Images

“We’re talking about doing a lot of different [lineup combinations]…we’ll see [Tuesday] what it’s going to look like,” Quinn said. “It’s going to look different obviously without Fil.”

Asked about the possibility of getting taxi squad defensemen Anthony Bitetto and Libor Hajek into the lineup anytime soon, Quinn admitted it’s been a topic of conversation.

“It is challenging, we certainly do talk about getting those guys in,” Quinn said. “It’s five games into it, we’ve got to continue to find a way to keep these guys sharp and in great shape.

“We love Libor, I think very highly of Libor. They’re here, the good news is under these unique circumstances these guys can stay here. Get in games when need be. I’m sure at some point they will get in.”

Hajek would likely be the first defenseman from the taxi squad to get into a game this season. He appeared in 28 games for the Rangers in 2019-20, accumulating five assists. Hajek, the Lightning’s second-round pick in 2016, was loaned to the Czech Extraliga’s HC Kometa Brno in November before he was recalled to join the Rangers at training camp earlier this month.