At the age of 26, Marc Staal is unfortunately becoming an expert on concussions. After suffering a very serious concussion in the 2010-2011 season, Staal missed 36 games. Then, earlier this month against the Devils, a shoulder to the head sidelined the shutdown defenseman again with a second diagnosed concussion.
Luckily, this injury was much less severe than his last, and Staal will make his return to the Rangers' lineup Tuesday night against the Panthers.
Following #NYR practice Marc Staal says he is ready to play tomorrow against Panthers— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) December 30, 2013
Staal has not played since Dec. 7, when a high hit from the Devils Reid Boucher knocked the defenseman out of the game. Staal missed 10 games due to this latest concussion, but from the onset of the injury, said he felt much better than during the time of his previous episode.
Staal's return could mean the Rangers will have eight healthy defenseman heading into Tuesday's New Year's Eve game in Florida, as Anton Stralman also is reportedly questionable for the tilt after missing the team's last game in Tampa Bay nursing a wrist injury. Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault said he liked the game of Conor Allen, the rookie defenseman who made his NHL debut in that Lightning win. If Staal, Stralman, and Allen are all in the lineup, Vigneault would have to sit two of the trio of John Moore, Michael Del Zotto, and Justin Falk, or possibly dress seven defensemen.
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