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.
Oct 1, 2014, 12:08 PM EDT
The second overall pick in the 2014 draft has gone pointless in three preseason games.
Oct 1, 2014, 11:54 AM EDT
Oct 1, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT
Pending RFA forward’s deal is up at the end of the season.
Oct 1, 2014, 11:07 AM EDT
Alex Goligoski is the team’s No. 1 d-man. And that’s a concern.
Oct 1, 2014, 10:56 AM EDT
“It was clicking on full cylinders there.”
Oct 1, 2014, 9:55 AM EDT
One of them was rusty.
Oct 1, 2014, 9:03 AM EDT
He was a restricted free agent, but was still taking part in training camp.
Oct 1, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT
No, this post doesn’t just include the word “everything.”
Oct 1, 2014, 7:55 AM EDT
Wednesday’s collection of links.
Oct 1, 2014, 12:00 AM EDT
Apparently they won’t hand him Cody Eakin’s two-year, $3.8 million deal.
Sep 30, 2014, 11:31 PM EDT
Here are some assorted goals for entertainment purposes.
Sep 30, 2014, 10:23 PM EDT
He’s reportedly asking for a hefty six or seven-year deal.
Sep 30, 2014, 9:25 PM EDT
Updated with GM Craig MacTavish’s comments.
Sep 30, 2014, 9:10 PM EDT
Buffalo was fearing a broken jaw, which would be even worse.
Sep 30, 2014, 7:27 PM EDT
It looks like the transition from Charles Wang’s ownership will ramp up soon.
Sep 30, 2014, 7:13 PM EDT
What a difference injuries and a nearing regular season makes …
Sep 30, 2014, 6:40 PM EDT
He says the “progress has been really good.”
Sep 30, 2014, 5:28 PM EDT
Will this be another season to forget for Toronto?
Sep 30, 2014, 4:26 PM EDT
Called him “the best defenseman on the ice.”
Sep 30, 2014, 4:12 PM EDT
Buffalo trims training camp roster to 30.
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