After 10-game absence, Staal to return for Rangers on Tuesday


Marc Staal will play for the first time since Dec. 7 when the Rangers take on the Panthers in Florida tomorrow night.

“I talked to [head coach Alain Vigneault] and said I wanted to play and he said I’m  in,” Staal said, per the Bergen Record. “(Missing time) sucks, it’s frustrating, you want to be out there helping the team win games.

“I’m excited to just get back out there and be a part of it on the  ice  again.”

Staal has missed the last 10 games with a concussion, suffered during a 4-3 overtime loss to the Devils after a crushing hit to the jaw from New Jersey’s Reid Boucher. It was the second concussion he’s suffered recently, having missed 36 games to start the 2011-12 season following a hit from his brother, Carolina captain Eric Staal.

Getting Staal back will be a big boost for the Rangers. They’re already without Anton Stralman and recently called up Conor Allen from the AHL (Allen, a rookie, made his NHL debut last game.) Staal was averaging 20 minutes per game prior to getting hurt, though he only had two points and one assist through 30 games.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?