Mar 8, 2012; Ottawa, ON, CAN; New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal (18) in second period action against the ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place. The Senators defeated the Rangers 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-US PRESSWIRE
Marc Staal has simply not been the same player since returning from his concussion. I'd say for every good game he has played he has played three, four, or even five bad games.
I am in no position to diagnose or examine Staal's post-concussion mindset/health, so I won't go into my thoughts about that, but there are notable differences between Staal's pre-concussion play, and Staal's post-concussion play.
Pre-concussion Staal was much more physical, and would not allow any player to beat him one on one. Post-concussion Staal allows players to beat him one on one every game, and refuses to take the body on opposing players.
The lack of physicality from Staal lately is troubling, but what is most troubling to me is his road back to the NHL. I said the day he returned, the day of the Winter Classic, that I hated the move, because he did not rehab at all.
I stick by that statement, and believe there is a lot more to be said about that. Hockey teams generally do not know how to properly rehab their players, in my opinion.
Rather than immediately returning to the NHL, Staal should have gotten at least three or four games under his belt in the AHL, and should have been watched by various important Rangers front office members to see if he played the same style of hockey. None of this happened, and I feel this is part of why Staal was allowed to come back and struggle the way he has.
Regardless of all of this, I'm worried about Marc Staal. An unhealthy Staal/struggling Staal for the playoffs could mean an early exit for the New York Rangers.