New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal isn’t just skating again; it turns out that he will also join the team on a five-game road trip as he recovers from a concussion, New York Newsday’s Steve Zipay reports.
Naturally, this doesn’t mean that he’s certain for a swift return, yet it’s still a promising sign.
The 26-year-old has been sidelined since Dec. 7 with the injury. That issue happened thanks to a hit by Reid Boucher of the New Jersey Devils:
Staal resumed skating on Dec. 22. It’s been an injury-plagued couple seasons for Staal, as he seemingly just got over a frightening eye injury that evoked legitimate concerns about his career.
Staal has played in 30 games this season, collecting three points and a -7 rating.
The Rangers probably welcome any reason for optimism as they prepare for their five-game trip, which begins in Washington on Friday. They just completed a trying nine-game homestand, which ended on a nice note (two consecutive wins) but was largely a failure.
After making the Wild out of training camp, Tyler Graovac got some bad news on Tuesday — head coach Mike Yeo said Graovac would miss the next 2-3 weeks with a groin strain.
Graovac, 22, played just under 14 minutes in Minnesota’s crazy 5-4 comeback win over Colorado in the season-opener, but sat out Saturday’s win over St. Louis.
At 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, Graovac was a notable physical presence in the Wild lineup, and is an intriguing prospect — he impressed with AHL Iowa last year, scoring 21 goals and 46 points in 73 games.
Taylor Hall is sick and reportedly “doubtful” for tonight’s game in Dallas.
Hall did not skate with the Oilers this morning. If he can’t play, Edmonton’s top two lines against the Stars could feature Ryan Nugent-Hopkins between wingers Teddy Purcell and Benoit Pouliot, followed by Connor McDavid centering Lauri Korpikoski and Nail Yakupov.
The Oilers — forced to start the season without top-six winger Jordan Eberle — have scored just once in their first two games, losing 3-1 in St. Louis and 2-0 in Nashville.
Edmonton returns home after tonight’s contest to play St. Louis on Thursday. Then it’s back out on the road for games against Calgary and Vancouver.