Now might be the time for New York Rangers fans to begin worrying about their blue line.
Marc Staal, one of the team's alternate captains and a leader among the defensive corps, will miss the start of the season. He won't make the trip to Europe, instead staying back in the State to continue working with doctors as he battles post-concussion symptoms stemming from a hit last season from his brother Eric of Carolina.
Not long ago, the team decided to withhold Staal from the final preseason games as he dealt with the symptoms. But we were told it was just precautionary and Staal would likely join the team for the regular-season openers in Sweden. The message was that it was nothing more than the Rangers being extra careful.
“Marc Staal continues to work with his people [in New York] and he’s not coming on the trip,” Tortorella told the media after the Rangers' 8-4 exhibition loss in Zug, Switzerland. “He will not be [in Stockholm]. He continues to work with the doctors out there, so we thought it was best to leave him alone right now. So he won’t open the season with us.”
You never can tell how players are going to progress as they try and get over post-concussion issues, so it makes sense the Rangers are taking their time. At this point they probably figured it wasn't worth sending him on a plane trip halfway across the globe if they weren't 100 percent on his playing status.
It's not all gloom and doom, though, as Andrew Gross of the Bergen Record and Ranger Rants blog reports, Staal was practicing with the Connecticut Whale. So perhaps he isn't facing a long-term injury stay with an IR visit like Sidney Crosby, but the fact that he still isn't well enough to make the trip and play is of slight concern.
The Rangers would obviously like to get Staal back as soon as they can. Because without him, the Rangers will take on the Ducks and Kings with a defensive corps that consists of Dan Girardi, Steve Eminger, Brendan Bell, Stu Bickel, Michael Del Zotto, Ryan McDonagh and Mike Sauer. Hopefully for the Blueshirts, Henrik Lundqvist will thrive being back in Sweden.
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