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Rangers' Staal says eye injury 'way better'

by Staff /

New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said Thursday he is entering training camp much improved from an eye injury than when he tried to come back in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season.

"I'm more adapted to it and a lot more used to it," Staal said. "The vision hasn't changed much, but the perception, what I'm seeing on the ice, has [gotten] way better than when I was trying to come back in the playoffs a few months ago, so that's a big step for me."

Staal sustained a serious injury to his right eye March 5 when he was struck in the area by a shot from Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen.

Staal missed the remainder of the regular season but came back to play with a visor in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Washington Capitals. He played 17 minutes but had a setback the next day and was done for the season.

"Training camp's going to be important for me to not only get physically ready but mentally on the ice," Staal said. "Getting comfortable and getting the speed and the intensity in skates and bringing that into the exhibition games and into the season."

Staal on Thursday told Blueshirts United he started training for this season in early July, doing more skating than he normally would in an effort to get comfortable.

He said he will continue to play with a tinted visor because, though his vision is not as sensitive to light as it was after the injury, he feels more comfortable with the tinting.

Staal, entering his seventh season, said his depth perception has improved and he no longer is disoriented when other players skate near him.

"I certainly don't feel like I'm going to breeze through it and not have any bumps," Staal said. "That starts today, and from today on, working as hard as I can to get back to a high level."

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