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Staal has short wait before return in Classic

by Dan Rosen

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.


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The Flyers wasted no time testing his side. Brayden Schenn left a drop pass  for Jakub Voracek with Staal defending on the left side, and Voracek's  shot from the circle was gloved and held on to by Henrik Lundqvist.
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.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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