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Rangers' Staal says he's ready to return

Monday, 12.30.2013 / 1:49 PM / News

NHL.com

New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said following practice Monday that he's ready to return to the lineup after missing the past three weeks with a concussion.

The Rangers continue a road trip Tuesday against the Florida Panthers.

Staal, who was injured on a hit by New Jersey Devils forward Reid Boucher in a Dec. 7 game, skated at practice on a pairing with rookie Conor Allen, who made his NHL debut Sunday in a 4-3 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"I had a talk there with Marc at the end of practice today and he said he was ready to go," coach Alain Vigneault said. "He's been working real hard for a couple of weeks, skated during the Christmas break, and he feels he's in good condition. So I told him if he feels good to go we're going to play him."

Staal has two goals and one assist in 30 games this season.

Defenseman Anton Stralman, who has a sore wrist and missed the game Sunday, is questionable to play Tuesday.

"Today was a step forward," Stralman said. "It felt better … we'll see about tomorrow and hopefully it will be even better."

It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery