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Rangers' Staal says he's ready to return

Monday, 12.30.2013 / 1:49 PM / News

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Rangers' Staal says he's ready to return
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.

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."

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I downplayed the first one because I thought it's just a hockey game. We just want to win the game; it's against our rival and we want the two points. I downplayed it, but now having gone through the first one I look back and say, 'Geez, that was really cool.' I think as I've grown a bit older I've got a lot more appreciation for what we're allowed to do every day.

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