2012 NHL Winter Classic, Marc Staal Injury: Jeff Woywitka Scratched To Make Room For Staal

The New York Rangers will have Marc Staal back for the 2012 NHL Winter Classic. To replace him, the Rangers have made Jeff Woywitka the healthy scracth.

In a 12:45 news conference this morning, John Tortorella said that Staal would be playing third-pairinig minutes today against the Philadelphia Flyers. That seems to be the case in warmups as Staal was partnered with Stu Bickel during odd-man drills.

Tortorella will most likely shelter Staal's minutes, since Staal hasn't played a single game this season. Pairing him with Bickel on the bottom defensive pairing is one way to make sure he's no overused.

You have to tip your hat to Woywitka, who has been a good soldier for the Rangers this year and has really stepped into the defensive corps without missing a beat, but this was the right move to make. A "not as conditioned as he can be" Staal is still a better option than Woywitka at this point.

Thoughts guys?