Per The New York Rangers, Marc Staal will not travel to Europe and thus will not play in the first two games of the regular season. Tortorella said that the organization thought it would be better if the Rangers “leave him alone right now” as he continues to work with his doctors in North America.
Obviously, not great news. However, the way Tortorella words it makes it seem as if they went back and forth before ultimately making a decision, as opposed to him clearly not being close to game-ready.
Still, there has to be a little bit of concern. The Rangers defense is solid at best without Staal in the lineup and we’ve seen how long “concussion-like symptoms” can leave a player off the ice. Still, I don’t think it’s time to hit the panic button yet. If there were serious long-term concerns I think we would have heard more noise about the Rangers seriously looking at bringing in another defenseman. Those two games are also the only two the Rangers have until October 15th against the Islanders. Thus, Staal has almost two weeks before he starts missing any further time. I would guess that he’ll make his season debut then.