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Staal resumes skating for Rangers

by Dan Rosen

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal skated Saturday for the first time since sustaining the second concussion of his career on Dec. 7 against the New Jersey Devils. Staal felt good so he returned to the ice Sunday and was planning to go harder to get a better understanding of where he is in his recovery.

There is still no timetable for his return, but Staal is hoping to skate again Monday and continue his workouts through the three-day holiday break.

"The same workout I did last week that I had a tough time with, I did this week and got through it fine," Staal said Sunday morning before going on the ice. "It's a gauge and you just keep ramping it up as you feel better. That's what I've been doing."

Staal has consulted with Michigan-based neurologist Dr. Jeffrey Scott Kutcher, who has also treated Rangers forwards Rick Nash and Taylor Pyatt, but he said he never felt the need to meet with him in person.

"If I felt I was in serious trouble I would have been up there," Staal said.

Staal said he has gone through ups and downs since he was hit in the chin by Devils rookie Reid Boucher early in the third period of the Rangers' 4-3 overtime loss to New Jersey at Madison Square Garden. However, he felt better the morning after the hit and feels he has been progressively getting better despite some of those ups and downs.

"You never know until you start getting back into full tempo and things like that, but look at the positives and keep getting better," Staal said.

Staal said he knew something was wrong right when Boucher hit him, which is why he immediately left the ice to get looked at by team doctors.

"Everything kind of went silent except for a really loud ringing in my ears and I got a headache immediately after I got hit," Staal said, describing his initial symptoms. "Right then obviously I knew something was wrong so I just got off the ice and tried to deal with it."

Staal added that his experience with concussions helped him in that instance. He tried to play through a concussion late in the 2010-11 season and it affected his summer training, forcing him to miss the first 36 games of the 2011-12 season.

"Having come back too early from a previous one and going through all the stuff that I did, maybe if I hadn't gone through that I might have just skated to the bench, waited for things to clear up and gone back out there," Staal said. "Being more educated on it you know to get off the ice and see where you're at."


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