Marc Staal’s training camp hasn’t been a pleasant one for him or the New York Rangers. Staal’s recovery from post-concussion-like issues as well as a hurting neck are progressing slowly. While Staal works out with the Rangers minor league team in Hartford, the rest of the team is in Europe preparing for their season opener on Friday against the Los Angeles Kings.
Today, bad news from the Rangers about Staal as they say that Staal won’t be joining the team in Europe and will miss at least the team’s first two games because of that.
“Marc Staal continues to work with his people (in New York) and he’s not coming on the trip, he will not be (in Stockholm),” Tortorella said of Staal, who has been suffering from bad headaches since the summer. “He continues to work with the doctors out there, so we thought it was best to leave him alone right now. So he won’t open thie season with us.”
Staal’s lingering issues are a serious concern for New York as he’s their best defenseman and the key to how things go along the blue line. The Rangers’ depth on defense isn’t exactly awe-inspiring as they’ll be counting on Brendan Bell and Stu Bickel to help fill out ranks in Europe.
Staal’s issues go back to last spring when his brother Eric Staal crushed him with a body check that put Staal out of action for a short time. Upon his return, however, the issues continued and nagged at Staal all through the summer. The Rangers being careful with him is the right move to make, but with the season starting up and a serious question mark hanging over their top defender is a big problem.
Expect the Rangers to be sniffing around the waiver wire the next few days to see if they can find someone to give them better depth support.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.