Marc Staal's 17:17 of ice time in his return to the Rangers line-up was for the most part uneventful. But the effect on his teammates was more than noticeable.
Here's Derek Stepan on the defensman's impact (via New York Post)...
"It’s huge. He makes the D-core calm,” said Derek Stepan. “He’s got a presence about him that he can just control a game. He did a great job tonight. ... He found a way to get back to himself and I couldn’t be happier for him.
“Everyone really adores Marc. I know it’s a cheesy way to say it but we do.”
John Tortorella added (via Bergen Record)...
"He's so well respected in the room. This is two major injuries he's come back from. So, even before you step on the ice, I think that really helps your room."
Here's Staal on the eye...
“I could tell on the ice, it’s different,” said Staal. “You play your whole life with 20/20 vision and then you step out there and things definitely have changed. There are certain plays I saw a little different, but nothing I can’t get used to.
“You’re not used to playing, so that’s what’s constantly in your head, as to where if you don’t have it you’re just reacting, playing and your instincts just take over. I just want to get to that point as soon as possible.”
...Staal will be the first to admit he was a little rusty last night, but the emotional lift he gave the team was tangible. Last night was easily the most passionate and energetic the team has been in this series and I'll give all the credit to the return of Staal. Mindset means so much to the success of a team in the playoffs.
...and while Staal may personally not have had a huge impact on the ice, his mere presence makes the defensive corps that much more formidable. Especially when Tortorella is able to drop Del Zotto to the third pair and cut his minutes.
...i got to tell you though, my heart was in my throat when Staal took that big hit from Brouwer. Thought the worst. Especially when he wasn't getting much playing time early. Great that he was able to fight through it. I expect him to get better and more comfortable every game going forward.
Here's some post game video of Staal...
Staal coming back is one of the only reasons I'm giving MDZ a chance still. I've always liked him, but it's common knowledge he plays his best hockey with Staal babysitting him. Maybe getting his partner back full time next year will help him? idk just looking for positives lol.
I think MDZ needs more time. Even Brian Leetch (though he won the Calder and Norris trophies) didn't really develop his all world defensive end game until the '93-'94 season. I'm not saying that MDZ is on the same plane or even in the same universe as Leetch, but learning the defensive game takes time to develop.
Awesome to see him back out there! I thought the worst on that hit as well, so I'm glad he got it out of the way! I'll tell you what, I've been a vocal supporter of MDZ because I think his ability is something you just don't throw away, but if Moore proves to be the player he was last night, MDZ has suddenly become eminently expendable and very attractive trade bait. MDZ better get some reading lessons because there's a lot of writing on that wall!
Watching the ineptness of Del Zotto in the defensive zone, his inability to do anything but push guys in the back along the wall without taking the puck away and then making a good outlet pass and then watching an albeit rusty Staal make the basic defensive play of winning the battle and making the subtle pass to a teammate was a revelation. Every time the Rangers get hard wired in their own zone you'll invariably see all or a combination of #4, 14, and 19 with DZ the worst of the bunch.
Saw the rust as well but the good to see him out there. If he can regain his form it will be a huge lift - especially with how well Moore has fit in. I guess the blurry vision thing is not correctable. That is just scary. I'm also concerned with what Duguay was saying regarding standing next to Staal's doctor. He indicated that he doctor was very nervous during the game but would not say exactly why.
Personally I wish they would just bench DZ. I'd rather have an in your face defenseman like eminger than a liability like DZ.
When I was 17 I found out I had cataracts and prior to knowing what was wrong my vison deteriorated rapidly. So I can attest to the fact when your vison changes that fast you are in a constant state of adjustment. I remember having a hard time with athletics when I never had difficulty in the past. Post surgery was tough too because you have to adjust again to a whole new way of seeing. I'm happy he atleast feels comfortable enough to come back!
I'm not going to lie - I got a few chills when I spotted him on the ice in warmups. I had a feeling at that point we'd win. It was the same feeling I had at the Winter Classic when he took the ice. And funny - I thought about wearing my Staal jersey last night for that reason, but opted not to. So, so happy to have him back. Also, Del Zaster was an f-ing pylon last night, so we really, really need Marc back.
cause if you think about it, he really has been our best defenseman. His offensive game fell apart when he had to take on 25-30 minutes a game of shutdown hockey. He's not that kind of player, he's an offensive defenseman. McD has been as consistent this year as a crack addict, Girardi hasn't played great, and Stralman has been the only constantly reliable d-man on the team (somehow). Think we just need to give him a break, cause he's saved our asses countless times during the regular season when G and McD were lost.
@proslyn with how fast and well John Moore has developed as a ranger, it's getting REALLY hard to stay patient with MDZ.
@proslyn As others have said, with the arrival of Moore, MDZ becomes expendable. Yes DZ is still young, but how long is it gonna take him to develop into the player he's projected to be? If they could get a decent return, they should send him packing.
i don't think he will he has a letter on his chest... and he has said multiple times one of his favorite things is being able to play AGAINST all of his brothers
I was thinking this too but just didn't know how to phrase it. You nailed it! Though my first option is to keep him, he has become very tradable for a favorable package.
@proslyn @PenaltySh0t I just don't see it happening, he literally fit like a glove. He's still inexperienced of course, but he's freaking firing away on the PP, on goal too. He skates BETTER than McDonagh and I thought I'd never see the day, and afterall that's what makes McD so effective, his skating. He's just got abilities you can't just forget.