PHILADELPHIA -- For the first time since last season's Stanley Cup Playoffs, Rangers defenseman Marc Staal took a shift in an NHL game. And, for the second straight Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, a Staal brother made his season debut in the outdoor event.
Staal, who missed the first 36 games of the season due to concussion symptoms, got on the ice with rookie Stu Bickel 1:45 into the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park.
2012 WINTER CLASSIC
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The first mini scrum of the day came right after and Staal jumped in, but he wasn't heavily involved before the officials could separate the Rangers and Flyers.
Staal last played on April 23, 2011 when the Rangers were eliminated from the playoffs by the Washington Capitals. He suffered his concussion on Feb. 22, when his brother, Carolina captain Eric Staal, hit him hard along the boards. Staal missed three games, but returned to action and finished the season. He experienced concussion symptoms during the summer and was shut down prior to training camp.
Staal was finally cleared for contact a week ago. He told Rangers coach John Tortorella that he was good to go during the Rangers' team dinner Sunday night.
Staal's younger brother, Penguins center Jordan Staal, returned from season-long injuries to make his season debut in the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.