The news Rangers brass and fans were fearing has come true, as All Star defenseman Marc Staal will not make the trip to Europe where the team opens up the 2011-12 season with two games this week against the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks.
Staal has been held out of all preseason games due to post-concussion symptoms stemming from a hit at the hands of his brother, Eric, last February.
Following the team’s 8-4 loss in Zug, Switzerland to conclude the preseason, head coach John Tortorella broke the news. “Marc Staal continues to work with his people (in New York) and he’s not coming on the trip, he will not be (in Stockholm),” Tortorella said. “He continues to work with the doctors out there, so we thought it was best to leave him alone right now. So he won’t open thie season with us.”
Simply put, this is the worst news the Rangers could have received. Staal must still be feeling pretty awful not to make the trip. Hopefully his absence doesn’t last too long, and Staal is able to join the team next Saturday when they play their first regular season game in North America against the New York Islanders on Oct. 15.