Staal Practices, But Boyle Does Not

Wednesday brought a dose of good news/bad news for the Rangers.

On the positive side, injured defenseman Marc Staal took part in full-team practice for the first time since taking a deflected puck to the eye more than a month ago. On the down side, forward Brian Boyle---who was forced out of Tuesday night's game against the Flyers due to an unspecified injury---was unable to practice.

The Rangers had no update on Boyle's condition on Wednesday. The night before Boyle said that he planned to meet with doctors on Wednesday to determine the nature of his injury, which seemed to be to his right leg and took place in the first period of Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Flyers. As a precaution to Boyle possibly missing Thursday's game with Florida, the Rangers recalled Chris Kreider from the Connecticut Whale.

As for Staal, he has been skating for more than a week, primarily on his own or with the scratched players following morning skates on game days---liked yesterday morning in Philadelphia. Wednesday marked the first time he took part in a full-team practice. He wore a regular practice jersey and not a non-contact one, joking that there's "no contact to the eye, of course".

"He is getting better fast, which is a good sign," defenseman Ryan McDonagh said of Staal. "He wants to be out there, and he's working hard after practice doing extra drills and conditioning. It's great to see."

Despite the obvious optimism, Staal remains cautious about any posisble return to the Rangers lineup in the near future.

"From the guys that I have talked to who have had this type of thing, they've kind of warned me about setting a goal for myself as far being back," explained Staal. "In case you don't reach it, you could get frustrated or disappointed. So it's a cliche, but I'm going to go back tomorrow and work again and get stronger."

Staal added that, "I couldn't put a time on it", when asked again about a possible return date, but he also said earlier, "My body is feeling better and my legs are starting to feel a little stronger. (Today) was good. Got some pace and full-speed drills, so it was nice. Just keep going from here."

The Rangers have six games remaining on their schedule, and the regular season concludes a week from this Saturday with a home contest against the Devils.


Derek Stepan, who scored his 15th goal of the season last night in Philly, also did not practice on Wednesday. Stepan was given the day off, a "maintenance day" as the team refers to it.

"I'm just banged up a little bit," Stepan explained.

When asked about being on the receiving end of a high hit from the Flyers Claude Giroux shortly before scoring his goal Tuesday night, Stepan said, "I felt a little confused at first, but it wasn't anything serious. It took me a few seconds to grasp my bearings. It was almost like a ding."

Are you excited about the latest Marc Staal news, or maybe cautiously optimistic? And what of the recall of Chris Kreider and the injury suffered by Brian Boyle? Share your thoughts below.

Apr 17 - 6:12pm