Marc Staal, the New York blueliner that’s dealt with concussion issues throughout his career, is reportedly dealing with another concussion — one that held him out of the Rangers’ final two games prior to their bye week, per the Post.
Staal, who has been working out at the club’s practice facility this week, did not go through the NHL’s concussion protocol after he was held out of last week’s games in Philadelphia and Columbus with what was announced as an unidentified “upper-body” injury.
It is unknown whether the alternate captain, who reported he was not feeling well following the Jan. 3 game against the Sabres, will be available for Friday’s game against the Maple Leafs at the Garden or Saturday’s match in Montreal.
Staal has dealt with two concussions prior to this — one in 2011, courtesy a hit from brother Eric, and a second two years later following a headshot from then-Devils forward Reid Boucher.
Prior to getting hurt, the 29-year-old had been a staple of the Rangers’ lineup this year. He was averaging 19:33 through 40 games, chipping in offensively with three goals and six points.
With Staal out, Adam Clendening has been thrust into the defensive rotation — and has fared well. In Saturday’s comeback win over the Blue Jackets, he scored his first goal and recorded his first multi-point effort of the campaign.
Some good news if you’re a fan of the Boston Bruins.
John-Michael Liles, who’s missed the last 20 games because of a concussion, will return to the lineup for Sunday’s tilt against his former team, the Carolina Hurricanes.
Liles suffered the injury against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Nov. 27, after he took a scary fall into the boards.
“It wasn’t good,” Liles told the Boston Herald in late December. “It was definitely scary. It was kind of an unfortunate break. I was driving the net, had a lot of speed, and my feet got taken out. There wasn’t much I could do going that fast and that angle I was going. I was able to shield my face from (Czarnik) and their D-man. By doing that, I kind of hit the boards full-speed with nothing breaking the fall.”
Liles was skating on Boston’s third pairing with Kevan Miller during the pre-game warmup. He’ll probably be eased back into action with some limited minutes in his first few games.
The Winnipeg Jets didn’t have an issue with Jake McCabe‘s hit on Patrik Laine, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be happy with the end result.
On Sunday morning, Jets head coach Paul Maurice confirmed that the star rookie suffered a concussion on the play. There’s no timetable for his return.
“Patty’s got a concussion,” said Maurice, per the Jets. “He got tested out last night, see doctors again today. So he’ll start the stages of recovery with that. We’ll wait till the symptoms subside and then you start increasing workload and getting back on the ice.”
Maurice also mentioned that forward Drew Stafford will be taking Laine’s spot with Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers.
“It’s our best player, arguably,” Stafford said, per NHL.com. “So it’s not good any time you see a guy in that kind of a position on the ice with his helmet and the way he was. I’ve been there before, it’s not a good feeling. I don’t really want to comment on the hit, it’s not my place to do that. I just hope Patty’s OK. It’s just unfortunate.”
Laine currently leads all rookies in points with 37 and he’s tied with Leafs forward Auston Matthews for the lead in goals with 21.
The Florida Panthers were without Seth Griffith for the majority of Wednesday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.
And interim coach Tom Rowe isn’t pleased about the incident that knocked his forward from the game.
Griffith was injured on a high hit from Nikolaj Ehlers in the neutral zone. The incident occurred just away from the puck (0:07 of the video clip above), as Griffith was skating toward the Jets blue line.
Griffith played one more shift, which lasted all of three seconds, before he left the game for good. There was no call on the play. Ehlers went on to score in the third period.
Afterward, Rowe sounded off on the hit.
“It was a dirty hit by Ehlers, he deliberately did it,” Rowe said, per the Miami Herald, which reported the injury was a concussion. “I don’t care what anyone says. I saw it on video, it’s a dirty hit.”
In 23 games this season, Griffith had no goals and five assists.
Carolina backup Eddie Lack, who returned from a concussion two weeks ago, has been diagnosed — or, re-diagnosed — with another concussion, the ‘Canes announced on Tuesday.
With Lack sidelined, the club has recalled goaltender Daniel Altshuller from AHL Charlotte.
Lack’s season has largely been derailed by concussions and post-concussion symptoms. He’s only appeared in five games for Carolina this year, the last of those coming on Nov. 10, and didn’t play at all since being activated off IR on Dec. 21.
As a result, Cam Ward has carried a remarkably heavy workload this season. The veteran netminder currently sits fifth in the NHL in starts, with 30.
Lack’s absence has also caused a bit of a stir with regards to Carolina’s depth chart in goal. Last week, the club was forced to dress 37-year-old equipment manager Jorge Alves for a game against Tampa Bay.