Despite two surgeries in a short period of time, Jordan Staal is still bothered by foot injury

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staalbummedout.jpgWhile his brother Marc’s contract situation is more of a metaphorical pain in a metaphorical body part to the New York Rangers, Jordan Staal’s aches are a little more tangible for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He had a second surgery on his foot in June after going under the knife during the playoffs, but the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the lanky forward is facing a “few setbacks” in his recovery.

Penguins general manager Ray Shero said today that key forward Jordan Staal has had “a few setbacks” with his right foot and should find out next week following a medical re-evaluation whether he will be ready for the start of training camp next month.

Shero stressed that the tendon on the top of Staal’s foot that was cut April 30 is strong but that there are other issues keeping Staal from being at full force. Staal had surgery that night and again in June.

The Selke Trophy candidate is an important cog in the Penguins’ machine, even if he hasn’t hit the kind of offensive numbers some hoped for when he was the second overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft (ahead of Jonathan Toews and Nicklas Backstrom … oops). If Staal misses some regular season games or is hampered by the injury, it will put even more pressure on Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to carry the offense.

As any self respecting pee wee football coach may ponder, it’s reasonable to play hurt, but Staal played injured. It’s a common act by many hockey players, but it seems like he’s paying the price that comes with not allowing his surgically repaired foot to heal.

We’ll keep you up to date when we hear more about the injury rehab situations for Staal and many other players as the summer days rapidly give way to the return of hockey in the fall.

Video: Rangers shut out red-hot Sidney Crosby and the Penguins

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The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.

But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.

In the process, they held a red-hot Sidney Crosby off the score sheet, which has been a difficult, sometimes impossible task for opposing teams since about the middle of December. He entered this game with a seven-game scoring streak.

(In fact, New York held No. 87 to without a shot on goal in the entire game.)

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 34 shots he faced for the shutout.

Kevin Hayes gave the Rangers the lead in the first period, before Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast put the game away in the third.

Pittsburgh remains in the second Wild Card spot in the East. The Rangers now move three points clear of the rival Islanders for second in the Metropolitan.

Video: Wideman hearing ‘a tricky case’ as NHLPA hopes to get 20-game suspension reduced

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There is no certain timeline for when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman might rule on Dennis Wideman‘s appeal, according to a report from hockey insider Darren Dreger on NBCSN, as the Calgary Flames defenseman hopes to get his 20-game ban for hitting linesman Don Henderson reduced.

“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.

“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”

Report: Coyotes shut down Vitale (concussion) for the season

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Joe Vitale will not play again this season.

The Arizona Coyotes have shut Vitale down for the remainder of the 2015-16 campaign due to “concussion-related issues,” according to a report from Sarah McLellan of azcentral sports on Wednesday.

Vitale, a 30-year-old veteran center, appeared in only one game for the Coyotes this season. That was back on Oct. 17, when he suffered a concussion and broken orbital bone in a fight with Kevan Miller of the Boston Bruins.

Sens announce Frattin, acquired in Phaneuf deal, will stick with AHL Marlies

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Matt Frattin was traded by the Leafs to Ottawa yesterday as part of the Dion Phaneuf blockbuster.

But for now, he’s staying in Toronto.

On Wednesday, Sens GM Bryan Murray announced that Frattin will remain with the Leafs’ AHL affiliate — the Toronto Marlies — on loan, but will be available for selection should Ottawa require his services down the road.

Frattin, 28, has spent all of this season with the Marlies, scoring nine goals and 22 points in 47 games. His last NHL appearance came during the ’14-15 campaign, with the Leafs.

Prior to that, the former North Dakota standout had spent time in Los Angeles and Columbus.