Sep 17, 2013, 12:28 PM EDT
“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.
Apr 21, 2014, 12:20 AM EDT
Patrick Roy: “We’re going to be very smart about when he’s going to come back.”
Apr 20, 2014, 11:44 PM EDT
Apr 20, 2014, 11:28 PM EDT
Was shaken up after taking a knee to the head.
Apr 20, 2014, 10:52 PM EDT
Just another game between these two California rivals.
Apr 20, 2014, 10:34 PM EDT
Jon Cooper straddles the line between snarky and careful.
Apr 20, 2014, 10:09 PM EDT
Tough breaks for Tampa Bay.
Apr 20, 2014, 9:28 PM EDT
Remarkable … and risky?
Apr 20, 2014, 9:05 PM EDT
Kings hope to avoid two straight years of 0-2 first-round deficits.
Apr 20, 2014, 8:59 PM EDT
Tampa Bay’s captain managed to return later in the game.
Apr 20, 2014, 8:27 PM EDT
Classy gesture after 16 seasons with the Predators.
Apr 20, 2014, 7:32 PM EDT
Not exactly an ideal start for Anders Lindback.
Apr 20, 2014, 7:15 PM EDT
He stopped 31 out of 33 in Sunday’s win vs. the Rangers.
Apr 20, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT
Can the Bolts get back in this series?
Apr 20, 2014, 5:54 PM EDT
Milan Lucic scored a goal a game after that spearing incident.
Apr 20, 2014, 4:58 PM EDT
They are playing on opposite sides in the Detroit-Boston series.
Apr 20, 2014, 4:03 PM EDT
They’re down 2-0 to Montreal going into Game 3 tonight.
Apr 20, 2014, 3:12 PM EDT
The series is tied at 1-1.
Apr 20, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT
Chicago will have to find a way to get back into this series without one of its top defenseman.
Apr 20, 2014, 2:27 PM EDT
It’s the second part of NBC’s doubleheader.
Apr 20, 2014, 1:52 PM EDT
He stopped 30 shots on Saturday.
- Canadiens push Lightning to brink of elimination with 3-2 win 18
- WATCH LIVE: Los Angeles Kings at San Jose Sharks (Game 2) 0
- Bruins handle Red Wings 4-1, tie series 1-1 37
- Flyers overcome two-goal deficit to finally win at MSG 58
- NHL suspends Seabrook three games for charging into Backes 90
- MacKinnon, Avs shine against Wild, take 2-0 series lead 25
- Video: Roenick says MacKinnon is more dominant at 18 than Crosby was 28
- Blue Jackets gain first-ever playoff win, tie series with Penguins 1-1 49
- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; will face hearing (update) 136
- WATCH LIVE: Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins (Game 2) 4
- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; will face hearing (update) (136)
- Video: Lucic spears DeKeyser from behind (116)
- Flyers want to ‘punish’ McDonagh (113)
- That’s a raise: Flyers sign MacDonald to six-year, $30 million extension (91)
- NHL suspends Seabrook three games for charging into Backes (90)