NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20: (L-R) Marc Staal #18 and Brandon Dubinsky #17 of the New York Rangers celebrate after Dubinsky scored a second period goal against the Washington Capitals in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 20, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
According to Andrew Gross, Marc Staal has been cleared for contact and did "battle drills" today. Gross also went on to say Staal told him he needed more time to prepare and condition for playing 25 minutes a night.
While I don't expect Staal to play during the 2012 NHL Winter Classic this is very good news for the New York Rangers. Staal, who hasn't played a game yet this season, seems to be progressing at a very steady and solid pace; which is all you can ask for with head injuries.
The Rangers will continue to monitor his status, but his ability to take part in contact drills is a big next step in getting him back on the ice. Remember, he needs to work on his conditioning as well.
Staal is still some time away, Gross says there is still no timetable for his return, but this is very good news.