The Winter Classic got a little more interesting.
New York Rangers defenceman Marc Staal made his season debut for the Blueshirts at Tuesday afternoon’s Winter Classic, after missing nearly half the campaign in dealing with the effects of a concussion sustained on a hit by his brother, Eric, last February.
Rangers coach John Tortorella, who informed reporters Monday of the latest turn of events, said he discussed Staal’s health with Rangers head athletic trainer Jim Ramsay and specialist Dr. Robert Cantu. He then took it to the player for his view, despite indicating Sunday Staal wouldn’t play.
“I don’t care about anyone else’s opinion, are you ready to play?” Tortorella said he asked the 24-year-old, according to espn.com. “He said he was, so he’s playing ... I need a yes or a no. I got a yes from my trainer, a yes from my doctor and more importantly I got a yes from the player. He’s going to play. I don’t care if we’re playing in the creek somewhere, he’s going to play.”
It won’t be a creek, but hopefully not a puddle either at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia despite recent warm conditions in the Northeast.
Staal has been participating in full contact practices for the last week and is expected to be part of the team’s No. 3 defensive pairing vs. the Flyers.