Three days into training camp Rangers fans get their first scare. Marc Staal did not play today during the first day of scrimmages and, according to Larry Brooks, it is because of lingering concussion-like symptoms that developed over the summer and were a result of his Brother Eric’s hit on him late last season. As a result, Staal has been ruled out of playing in any preseason games in North America. Tortorella is expected to elaborate on the issue soon.
Now, before we all jump to conclusions and panic, there’s no reason to believe this is a serious cause for concern. Brooks also claims that Staal has passed all sorts of tests and has been cleared for contact. In other words, if the Rangers had a playoff game tomorrow Marc Staal would be playing. Hell, if it was opening night tomorrow there’s a solid chance he’d be on the ice. Staal went through Camp Torturella the last two days and, according to the beat writers, looked fine. However, if there’s even the slightest hint of a lingering issue then there’s no reason to take any chances with Staal. We know he’s making the team. We know what his role will be. There’s no logic in risking anything with your franchise defenseman, regardless of how unlikely any problems are. Until Tortorella tells me otherwise, there’s absolutely no reason to believe that Marc Staal won’t be on the bench for opening night.