NEW YORK -- New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal is still waiting for the day when he can just be another hockey player wearing a visor. It's not Thursday.
Staal skated again Thursday morning at Madison Square Garden, but he isn't expected to play in Game 4 against the Boston Bruins. He hasn't played since Game 3 against the Washington Capitals on May 6 -- and that was his first game since he suffered his right eye injury two months earlier against the Philadelphia Flyers.
"My belief is that in a certain amount of time I'll never have to answer another question about this again," Staal said.
He knows that most likely won't be until next season, but if the Rangers don't win Thursday against the Bruins then everyone on the team will start thinking about next season because they will be eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Staal said he feels terrible about that and the Rangers' current predicament, down 3-0 in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Semifinal series, but he isn't playing because he doesn't feel he can help the team right now. He said it's his decision because it involves his vision.
"It's worse to watch than to deal with the eye," Staal said. "That is the worst part."
Staal said the past few days have been good for him. His eye has felt better and his vision has been good enough to where he has been able to practice.
"But you can get out there one day and it kind of changes on you again," Staal said. "That's the frustrating part. It's gotta stay consistent for a few and I'll take it from there.
"It's something that is going to eventually is get under control."