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Staal returns from nearly year-long absence with concussion for Winter Classic

Monday, 01.02.2012 / 3:15 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Staal returns from nearly year-long absence with concussion for Winter Classic

PHILADELPHIA - New York Rangers defenceman Marc Staal made his return to the lineup after a nearly year-long absence from a concussion.

Staal, who turns 25 in January, has been out all season because of the effects of a concussion sustained in February when he was hit by his brother, Eric, a forward for the Carolina Hurricanes. He has been skating this month and was cleared for light contact.

Staal was set to make his debut Monday against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Winter Classic.

Rangers Coach John Tortorella said Saturday that nothing had changed and he did not expect Staal to play. Staal practised Saturday and was on the ice for warmups before the Flyers game.

Quote of the Day

[He's] real confident with the puck now, getting it off his stick quick and no second-guessing. We need that. He's such a good guy in the room. He works so hard. That's the big thing. For not a big man, he just fights for every puck and when he scores, the guys appreciate that even more.

— Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice on Mathieu Perreault, who scored two goals in win against Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday