Rangers' Marc Staal has concussion

Updated: December 10, 2013, 2:34 PM ET
By Katie Strang | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK – New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault confirmed what many feared when Marc Staal left Saturday night's game against the New Jersey Devils after a hard hit in the third period.

Staal has been diagnosed with a concussion and will miss his second straight game when the Rangers host the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.

Vigneault did say, however, that Staal's most recent head injury is not believed to be nearly as severe as the one he sustained at the end of the 2010-11 season, the lingering effects of which caused Staal to miss the team's first 36 games in the 2011-12 season.

"They don't feel it's as serious as what he might have had in the past," Vigneault said. "He's feeling better and we'll take it day by day."

Vigneault added that Staal is unlikely to visit the team's preferred Michigan-based specialist, Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, at this time.

"He doesn't feel the need to see him at this point," Vigneault said.

Staal sustained the concussion during the third period of the team's 4-3 overtime loss to the Devils after a crushing hit to the jaw from New Jersey's Reid Boucher.

He left the game and spiked his helmet in frustration as he headed down the tunnel toward the trainer's room. The initial prognosis does not sound dire, and it will be a relief for both Staal and the 15-15-1 Rangers if he can avoid missing extended time.

In addition to the 36 games he missed in 2011-12, Staal was out for more than half of the lockout-shortened 2013 season with an eye injury sustained after taking a puck to the face in March.

Michael Del Zotto will remain in the lineup to round out the defensive corps in Staal's absence, though Vigneault indicated he may shake up the pairings to spark his middling club.

In a blatant indictment of his team's lackluster competition level, Vigneault lauded the Detroit Red Wings as a team with collective toughness despite a lack of signature physicality.

"They play hard," he said. "They have the puck and they say, 'Try and get it from me,' or they don't have it and they battle like hell to get it back. They compete. That's the team toughness that I am hoping we will get here. Maybe we get there by changing the personnel, adding a little bit more toughness."

"We're .500," Vigneault said during Tuesday's pregame briefing. "I'm trying."

The Rangers recalled rugged veteran Arron Asham on Monday and will also return winger Derek Dorsett (wrist) to the lineup Tuesday.

Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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