Sep 17, 2013, 12:28 PM EST
“Under Pressure” is a preseason series we’ll be running on PHT. For each team in the NHL, we’ll pick one player, coach, GM, mascot or whatever that everyone will be watching closely this season. Feel free to play the song as you read along. Also feel free to go to the comment section and tell us we picked poorly.
For the New York Rangers, we pick … defenseman Marc Staal.
No shortage of candidates for the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist is in a contract year, on the verge of becoming the highest-paid goalie in the NHL. Alain Vigneault is the new head coach after John Tortorella was fired. Everyone knows Brad Richards needs to bounce back.
But for us, Staal’s is the most compelling story after the serious eye injury he suffered in March. The 26-year-old is a huge part of New York’s blue line and is also in the running to play for Team Canada at the Olympics.
You may recall that Staal’s postseason return lasted just one game before he put his comeback on hold. Fortunately, he says now that “the perception, what I’m seeing on the ice, has [gotten] way better than when I was trying to come back in the playoffs.”
If Staal can get back to playing 20-plus minutes a night against tough competition, not only will the Rangers benefit from all the things he does well on the ice, it should also lessen the load on the team’s other top blue-liners, like Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi and Michael Del Zotto.
“Training camp’s going to be important for me to not only get physically ready but mentally on the ice,” Staal said. “Getting comfortable and getting the speed and the intensity in skates and bringing that into the exhibition games and into the season.”
For all of our Under Pressure series, click here.
Dec 13, 2013, 5:02 PM EST
Maybe it’ll carry over into some of the Sens’ games.
Dec 13, 2013, 4:57 PM EST
“You stuck up for yourself. All of sudden it’s over. You fought. Boom.”
Dec 13, 2013, 4:33 PM EST
Just like it didn’t happen overnight in Vancouver.
Dec 13, 2013, 4:30 PM EST
He’ll suit up tonight against Vancouver.
Dec 13, 2013, 3:01 PM EST
News and notes from the blue paint…
Dec 13, 2013, 2:37 PM EST
Your choice of bacon, ham or sausage.
Dec 13, 2013, 2:31 PM EST
The Leafs are being forced to play the Blackhawks, the Red Wings can’t win a shootout, Boston’s in Vancouver for the first time since winning the Cup, Lundqvist needs to be better, and we know now that Martin Jones is a goalie for the Kings.
Dec 13, 2013, 2:13 PM EST
Chris Kunitz looks fired up.
Dec 13, 2013, 1:49 PM EST
So, the veteran defenseman could sit again.
Dec 13, 2013, 1:30 PM EST
Physical forward won his first and only Stanley Cup with Chicago last season.
Dec 13, 2013, 12:40 PM EST
You’re up, Jonas Gustavsson.
Dec 13, 2013, 12:27 PM EST
Won six of its last nine.
Dec 13, 2013, 12:24 PM EST
“It’s tough when you have to worry about pucks going in the back of your net.”
Dec 13, 2013, 11:53 AM EST
Incident occurred during Wednesday’s 7-2 ‘Hawks win.
Dec 13, 2013, 11:26 AM EST
Now that Jay Feaster’s gone.
Dec 13, 2013, 10:57 AM EST
Pens host the Devils tonight.
Dec 13, 2013, 10:48 AM EST
Incident occurred during Thursday’s Flyers-Habs game in Philly.
Dec 13, 2013, 10:03 AM EST
‘Tis the season to not be joyful about losing.
Dec 13, 2013, 9:30 AM EST
The Badgers are 5-0-1 at home this season.
Dec 13, 2013, 8:15 AM EST
That and all the links to start your day ahead.
- TGIF: Five NHL games to watch this weekend 4
- Wounded Wing: Howard (MCL sprain) out 2-4 weeks 2
- Wild coach accuses Sharks of embellishment 67
- Lundqvist hooked after three first-period goals as Rangers’ woes continue 28
- Burke wants the Flames to be — yep, you guessed it — more ‘truculent’ 46
- Flames fire GM Jay Feaster 36
- Video: Projected rise in salary cap could have some players ‘licking their lips’ 22
- Discuss: Blackhawks score big on Rivalry Night on NBCSN 37
- Crosby: If I had to guess Thornton’s suspension, I’d say 10 games 86
- Cowen gets two-game suspension for hit on Girgensons 12
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (184)
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head (156)
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ (138)
- Pens put Orpik on IR (132)
- Orpik suffers from concussion, including memory loss (118)