Rangers put Marc Staal on IR

Updated: October 6, 2011, 9:31 AM ET
By Katie Strang | ESPNNewYork.com

The New York Rangers have placed 24-year-old defenseman Marc Staal on injured reserve, the team announced.

Still suffering from headaches stemming from a concussion sustained in February, Staal has been ruled out for the Rangers' first two regular-season games this weekend in Stockholm, and it appears he may miss a significant amount of time.

Although the Rangers do not play their third game of the season until Oct. 15, Staal has not practiced fully or scrimmaged with the team since training camp began. While the team departed for a six-game jaunt through Europe, Staal stayed behind to skate with the team's minor league affiliate in Hartford, Conn., and meet with specialists.

Staal flew to Buffalo on Monday to receive a cortisone shot in his neck to alleviate inflammation and increase blood flow.

The Rangers recalled 20-year-old defenseman Tim Erixon, who skated with the AHL's Connecticut Whale on Wednesday and will fly to Sweden to rejoin the Rangers.

Meanwhile, New York continues to discuss the possibility of bringing in veteran defenseman Paul Mara.

"We haven't stopped talking," Mara's agent, Matt Keator, told ESPNNewYork.com when reached by phone Wednesday. "The landscape may have changed a bit, but we've been talking all along."

As reported last month, the Rangers expressed interest in bringing Mara, a 32-year-old unsigned free agent, to add some depth and experience to the defense, but that urgency likely has heightened given Staal's status.

Staal is eligible to return from injured reserve Oct. 12.

Also Wednesday, winger Sean Avery cleared waivers and was assigned to Connecticut.

Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPNNewYork.com.

Katie Strang covers the Rangers, Islanders and Devils for ESPNNewYork.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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