Monday, October 3, 2011
Marc Staal not headed to Europe
By Katie Strang
New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, who is still suffering from headaches stemming from a February concussion, will not join the team in Europe, coach John Tortorella told reporters after the team's 8-4 preseason loss to EV Zug in Switzerland Monday.
Staal will miss the Rangers regular season opener against the Los Angeles Kings Friday in Stockholm, Sweden and the team's match against the Anaheim Ducks the following night.
There had been a possibility in late September that Staal could join the team abroad.
The 24-year-old could be available Oct. 15 against the Islanders -- the team's first game back in North America following their trek through Europe.
While the Rangers have played in four different countries over the span of five days, Staal has stayed behind to meet with specialists and skate with the team's minor league affiliate in Hartford, Conn. Staal practiced with the AHL's Connecticut Whale on back-to-back days Friday and Saturday but did not skate with the club on Monday.
Staal's absence is a gaping hole for the Rangers' defense, which is also currently without Michael Sauer (shoulder). Staal logged a team-leading 25:44 in ice time and finished with seven goals and 22 assists in 77 games last season.
All five games missed last season came as a result of the concussion-causing hit Feb. 22 delivered by his brother, Eric, who plays for the Carolina Hurricanes. Marc Staal sat out the next three games with a knee injury sustained on the hit and missed two additional games the following month.
Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPNNewYork.com.