Update, 2:36 p.m.:
Here's video of Staal's post practice interview...
To watch at Blueshirts United, click here.
While it's great to hear that Marc Staal was back on the ice this morning, that's pretty much where the good news ends as far as his return from an eye injury.
After announcing that he will not play in Game 5 tonight he added this about what went into his decision to pull himself from Game 4 (via NHL.com)...
"On the ice it didn't go particularly well, and as the day went on I just couldn't see myself getting into a game situation. It's tough. You get excited to get in that one [Game 3] and have to sit and watch the next [Game 4]. It's certainly not easy."
He added this about his status for the remainder of the series...
"I'll wake up [Saturday] and go at it again," Staal said. "With this thing, the way I've been dealing with it is I wake up in the morning and take it from there. I couldn't speculate one way or the other."
Pat Leonard at the Daily News has the full transcript of Staal's post practice interview this morning.
This obviously means that Steve Eminger will be back on defense.
...ugh. Is it me or does he sound like he's talking about a concussion? This whole situation is so depressing. And according to the beat writers, Staal was very down today.
...while I always want to be upbeat about the Rangers chances, if they can't get Staal back soon I have serious reservations about how far this team can go in the playoffs.
...i know every team has their injuries, but the Rangers have been jinxed. Think about the Blueshirts roster with Staal, Sauer and Cherapanov.
Speaking of injuries, here's Ryane Clowe on his Game 4 return and how he expects another physical game in Washington tonight...
Putting it out there, and it doesn't have much to do with Staal except that he won the game for us last year. The last game 5 these teams played was one of the best hockey games I have ever watched, and miraculously we found a way to come out on top. I hope the Rangers can find a way to do the same tonight. This team has struggled mightily all year on the road, and now needing to take at least one on the road out of the next three the Rangers need this one very bad. Tonight will tell you a lot about the Rangers.. and the Caps for that matter if they are able to bounce back and play a solid game at home. I think both teams will play their best game tonight, but I BELIEVE!! LGR!!
Kvin...I have thought about that roster however when it comes to Cherapanov lets face it most of the Russians except the one taken high like Kovalchuk & Ovechkin, never adapt to the North American game ie; Zherdev. As for Stall I don't believe he had a setback i have thought concussion since he got hit. I also agree I don't think we can win a Cup or go deep w-out Staal. I have been saying that since he got hurt. Unless eminger makes like Doug Lidster & plays great. The only problem there is Torts doesn't seem to trust him enuff to allow that to happen. Time to accept the reality that Staal is probbaly done til next year.
He was rushed, and it is probably going to cost us staal for the rest of the postseason. I mean if he got hurt from a hit from Wshington, imagine what would happen if we play Boston, they hit everything and hard. Staal would get destroyed...
If you studied the Troy Brouwer hit on Staal you know that this is the reason he won't play...that hit has concussion written all over it...
I'd rather Staal sit this playoffs out than cause more injury to his eye or another concussion. We just have to accept the fact that he's not playing and work with what we have. Steve Eminger can play if he's not pulled from the game after his first mistake. Try going out and playing well when you know that your first error will be your last.
The way Torts wants his teams to play is going to lead to injuries, so we need a roster of players that can go out and handle playoff hockey. That's never going to be the case if Torts keeps benching players after one mistake.
As for being jinxed, every team has injuries and players not panning out. Cherepanov died almost five years ago. That one you have to let go.
Maybe it's me but that doesn't sound like a concussion. He wouldn't be skating if he was having those issues as I would be shocked if they didn't shut him down for a week or more if he was. (I don't trust the Rangers medical staff but with everything Staal has gone through, I would like to think they would be smart enough to not mess with that.) I honestly think it's his eye sight - he can't see. He's said it before and he's slowly realizing it really is an issue. Which just plain sucks.
@Josh6 At this time of year u have to rush cause they may be no later. I don't blame them for that cause he had to try. Its not like u can reular season where u can lets wait til we r 100% better. He was either coming back this year otr he wasn't I don't think him rushing it matter one way or the other. But then again what the hell do I know...lol
@PsychJukebox I agree & said the said the same thing above.
@PsychJukebox i don't think he'd be skating today if that was a concussion.
@danblackburn Rangers have had a disproportionite amount of young guys having career ending injuries or death. Stefan Chernaski, Dan Blackburn (as u would know since ur him...lol) Cherapanov, Sauer, even Jessimen may have not been a bust if he didn't get hurt early in his development. I can't think of another organization who has had 5 of its top young prospects get hurt/die before they could have at least somewhat of a career. I think I may be missing someone as well. Throw in the fact that staal has had a concussion AND what is essentially a broken face & this organization has had more then its fair share...wouldn't you agree?
@danblackburnI hear you on letting go of Cherapanov, but not very often do you see a team's top prospect die. And while team's have had players suffer from concussions rarely are their careers over like Sauer and now look at everything Staal is going through. And I didn't even mention the deaths of Boogaard and Lyashenko.
@danblackburn Torts didn't bench Eminger for 1 bad play. He did it because Eminger was playing scared non-decisive hockey the whole time up to that bad play. The games before he was decent. He was god awful in game 4. He'll have to earn his time tonight to play more than 5 minutes.
@Melissa (blknblueshirts) I agree. Sounds to me like he took that big hit in game 3 because he didn't see it coming and now he's afraid that he might take another that could hurt his team, or more importantly hurt him permanently and end his career. It's tough, but he's playing it smart.
@PsychJukebox U guys make good points though. If it was a concussion he wouldn't be skating this soon. Especially w-his his history. Maybe it is just what they said...his eye. Especially since supposedly Torts lambasted Mcdonough for talking about it.
@ThrSage @danblackburn I do agree with you and @KevinDeLury that the Rangers have had a lot of career ending injuries to young, potential impact players. However, none of them were guaranteed to pan out. As my handle on this site would suggest, I was a big Dan Blackburn fan and hated seeing his career cut short, and there's a lot of players I would have loved to see playing in the big show.
I'm sure having a few of the players we've lost would be beneficial, but we've also had some pleasant surprises along the way. Our captain is a 4th round draft pick. Hagelin's a sixth rounder and he's been key to the last two wins. Henrik, the backbone of this team was drafted in the seventh. Girardi was undrafted.
So I think the question is have these loses left the Rangers unable to compete? I don't think so. It helps when your GM will go shopping for big talent, but the core of the Rangers which came up through the system is solid. Obviously, I might be singing a different tune if they lose this series, but I don't think they will. If the players we have available start clicking, and Torts trusts the whole team, I think they could make a run.
@gravey94 @Melissa (blknblueshirts) It also could be a light sensitivity issue. Because of the dilation in his eye, he is more sensitive to light. I know he has worked with some tinted visors, but all that white ice under intense lighting? The tinted visors may not be helping or he hasn't found the right one yet.
I can tell you from having dealt with this myself in regards to flourescent lighting that you can suffer for a few days after being exposed to whatever kind of light you may be sensitive too. I had headaches and eye pain like someone was sticking pins in my eyes. It goes away, but in some it may be prolonged. I work in a very dimly list office with natural light to solve my problems, but he obviously had a whole different set of issues with the dilation.
He seems to indicate that his vision is gradually improving, but the dilation could have increased from irritation. The doctors may be waiting to see just how much it improves before going to the next step where they can use contact lenses to prevent the light from getting through to lessen the exposure.
@gravey94 @Melissa (blknblueshirts) Agree with both of you. He is having problems seeing and some days are worse than others. Not sure if playing hurts his recovery though obviously another hit to that area would be a disaster. It sucks but we need to consider him out for the duration and hope for his sight to return . If he can safely play this year that is a bonus but right now I'm worried he may never be the same player he was. That would be devastating. Thank goodness Moore came over and has stepped up as much as he has. Can you imagine if Eminger was our 5th D? Torts would probably just dress 4D and add 2 more forwards :)
@ThrSage @gravey94 @danblackburnYou're not going to see him playing well until Torts gives him some playing time. 14 minutes in game two is respectable, but it's hard for a defensman to prove himself in 9 minutes like he had in game one. I'm not saying Eminger should be pulling 20+ minutes, but I think he would perform better with regular shifts.
Maybe I get a little caught up in the "minutes equates to performance" mantra, but giving support players more playing time should benefit their performance, and it gives our better players a little more rest. This series is going at least six games, and I hope we have a lot more hockey to play after. If that's the case, we need fresh legs, and playing a full roster is key to that.