According to Larry Brooks at the New York Post, Marc Staal experienced no ill-effects during the exhibition games from the eye injury he sustained early last March that ruined the remainder of his season.
“Preseason actually went better than I expected,” the alternate captain said. “I feel really good. I’m completely comfortable and very confident.
“If I have a bad game, it’ll be because it’s a bad game. Don’t blame the eye.”
...i'm just blown away by this. I thought for sure it was going to be a tough go for Staal this season.
...and his play during the preseason mirrors that assessment as he's displayed more offensive ability the last two years than the previous six seasons. Very aggressive and confident with this puck. If he can continue that play into the regular season, he will finally have lived up to the expectations of being one of the best two-way defensemen in the league.
In other positive injury news, Carl Hagelin tells Pat Leonard of the Daily News that he feels “fresh,” has “no pain” in his surgically repaired left shoulder even when he shoots the puck, and that he is now doing “everything except contact” to prepare to hitting the ice racing when he comes off the long-term injury list toward the end of October...
“Being in my best shape, my conditioning, it’s something I pride myself in,” said Hagelin. “Right now, it feels light out there on the ice, in a way. It shouldn’t be a matter of getting into game shape (when I return) as much as just getting back into game habits.”
Hagelin will not travel with the Rangers on this five-game, season-opening road trip and is out at least the first 10 games after being placed on LTIR.
...Hagelin's return will only add to the Rangers depth, which seems to be getting better by the day. It's amazing how much better the line-up will look in the regular season than it did in the preseason with the addition of Stepan, Cally and Hags.
...can't drop the puck soon enough tonight.