Rangers training camp got underway this weekend but there was one big, and important, face missing on their blue line.
Defenseman Marc Staal is being held out of team scrimmages to start training camp and will be kept out of the team’s first three preseason games thanks to having problems stemming back to an injury he suffered back in February. Oddly enough, the injury he suffered then came at the hands of his older brother Eric Staal.
The New York Post’s Larry Brooks has the scoop on just what is ailing Staal and causing some concern for coach John Tortorella and the Rangers.
The Blueshirts’ alternate captain has been medically cleared for contact after developing post-concussion-like symptoms over the summer, but management is taking a conservative, cautious approach this pre-season. He skated through the first two days of strenuous testing and did take part in this morning’s drills after the conclusion of the first scrimmage.
Staal isn’t being held out completely in camp as he’s doing drills and continuing to skate with the team, he’s just not doing anything game-related for now. Given how long ago the injury happened and some of the problems Staal had in the months following the injury, it’s a bit unnerving for the Rangers to see Staal continuing to have some issues.
If Staal is having concussion-like issues, the Rangers would be better off making sure he’s absolutely good to go. Concussion recovery is a delicate thing, as we’ve seen, and playing defense the way Staal does isn’t a delicate job. He’s physical, he’s a big target as is, and he plays the big minutes against the opponents top players. The Rangers being careful here is good, but they need to figure out just how bad off Staal is before they get him into real game situations.