Marc Staal takes another step in return
Posted on: December 26, 2011 1:34 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2011 1:37 pm
By: Adam Gretz
Marc Staal was able to take another major step in his return from a concussion on Monday morning when he was not only cleared for contact, but was also able to take part in a full practice with his New York Rangers teammates.
Said Staal, via Andrew Gross of the Bergen Record, "I totally felt fully confident going on the ice and taking some hits. There was no doubt in my mind it was the right thing to do."
Staal, the Rangers' best defenseman, hasn't played in an NHL game since last April due to post concussion syndrome. The concussion is believed to have happened during a game against the Carolina Hurricanes in February when he was on the receiving end of a hit from his older brother, Eric. Marc ended up missing a couple of games immediately after the hit, but ultimtely returned to the lineup. The severity of the injury wasn't fully known until he reported to training camp this season.
At this point Staal hasn't ruled out playing in the Jan. 2 Winter Classic at Philadelphia, but also knows that it's important not to rush himself back into the lineup.
In his four NHL seasons Staal has scored 20 goals to go with 61 assists and is currently in the second year of a five-year contract that pays him an average annual salary of $3.975 million. Without him, the Rangers have raced out to a 21-8-4 start and enter the week on top of the NHL's Atlantic Division.