Tag:Brendan Bell
Posted on: October 5, 2011 12:49 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 11:18 pm

Now Rangers' Staal could be out for a month

By Brian Stubits

The news just keeps getting worse for the Rangers and Marc Staal. The alternate captain is already scheduled to miss the first two games overseas because of post-concussion symptoms, and there's no telling how much longer it could be.

What was once being described as nothing more than precautionary measures is now being described like this (from New York Post):

“Doctors have said that it could be a week, but it could also be a month,” Rangers GM Glen Sather said of Staal, who has been receiving treatment back home. “I wish we had something absolute, but we don’t."

So the Rangers had little option but to put Staal on the injured reserve list to start the season, meaning he will be out at least the first week. At the sounds of things, though, it's probably going to be longer.

As a result, the Rangers have begun preparing for life without Staal for a few weeks. Larry Brooks at the Post says the team has reopened talks with free-agent defenseman Paul Mara to fill the void. In the meantime, top prospect Tim Erixon is being recalled to make his debut in Sweden, his home nation.

Coach John Tortorella was not thrilled with the way his defense performed in the preseason, electing to waive Stu Bickell and Brendan Bell for purposes of relocating them to the AHL.

So imagine how concerned he is with the prospect of being down one of his team's top defensemen for a few weeks, possibly more. Sather certainly can see the worry.

“If Marc’s out for a substantial length of time, it’s going to have an impact on our club, no doubt about that. He’s our top defenseman, one of our top players, gets the most ice time and is always on against the other team’s top players.

“But it’s something we’ll just have to deal with.”

It's almost impossible to set a timetable on post-concussion returns. The Rangers, for their part, deny any setback has occurred. But it seems to be a matter of semantics. As Bob McKenzie of TSN points out, the Rangers said he'd only be out a short time and now it could be much longer.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 3, 2011 8:55 pm

Rangers' Staal to miss opening games in Sweden

By Brian Stubits

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.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com