Injury To Marc Staal Mars Rangers Third Straight Win
What was an inspiring 4-2 victory over the hated Philadelphia Flyers isn't such a feel good moment for the NY Rangers. That's because late in the contest defensemen Marc Staal was hit what looked like flush in the eye off a deflected puck in front of the Rangers goal and crumpled to the ice in obvious pain.
The play happened with just under 6 minutes left in the game, the Rangers leading the Flyers in a huge game 4-2. A shot from inside the blueline looked to be deflected by a Rangers stick. The puck then deflected up and smack into the face of the ranger blue liner. He instantly crumpled to the ice and writhed in pain for several minutes. The crowd went dead silent. Teammates huddled around the top defensemen as he writhe on the ice, blood coming from the injury.
As hockey players are want to do Staal skated off the ice with a little help but mostly on his own. The Rangers made no announcement after the game as to the severity of the injury. Staal was taken to the hospital. It should be noted that Staal does NOT wear a visor and it is possible a visor might have prevented whatever injury this is. It can't be known for sure cause players who wear visors have been struck under the visor by a puck but it certainly brings some protection.
Ranger players were shaken by the injury. Staal is a very popular player. He missed half of last year with a concussion. Staal leads the rangers blueliners in scoring. The Rangers have been without defensemen Mark Sauer for over a year with a concussion and no word if he will ever return.
After the game ended in the Rangers 3rd straight win and New York right now back in a playoff spot several rangers spoke of how scary it was seeing a popular teammate down and badly hurt so it appears. Said captain Ryan Callahan who scored 2 goals in the win said " When it's that close to the eye there is no way to really prevent that, it's off a stick and into his face. You could feel that really take the life out of the bench a little bit, out of the whole crowd. It was a scary moment. I haven't seen him yet but hopefully he is ok."
Staal plays alongside Dan Girardi in 1 of the best defense combo's in the entire NHL and he plays almost 25 minutes per game.
The Rangers played last night already without forward Brad Richards who was hit from behind by Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta on Sunday and went head 1st into the lower part of the boards. The clown Kaleta was suspended for 5 games. No word how long Richards will miss.
The Rangers win, their 3rd straight, leap frogged them into the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference after they have played 21 games and have 21 left in the shortened season. Whether they will have Staal back at any point or how soon should be known in the next couple of days.