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Rangers' Marc Staal To Miss At Least First Two Regular-Season Games

The New York Rangers begin their season Oct. 7 in Sweden against the Los Angeles Kings. The start of Marc Staal's season, however, will be delayed at least two games as he continues to recover -- and deal with -- post-consussion headaches that have haunted him throughout offseason workouts and training camp.

When the news about Staal's concussion was released earlier this training camp, the Rangers expressed optimism that he'd be back soon. It seemed doubtful then that Staal would be ready to go by the start of the regular season, and coach John Tortorella's statements today are not at all unexpected.

"Marc Staal continues to work with his people (in New York) and he's not coming on the trip, he will not be (in Stockholm)," Tortorella said as quoted by's Jim Cerny. "He continues to work with the doctors out there, so we thought it was best to leave him alone right now. So he won't open thie season with us."

The good news -- which may end up being premature -- is that Staal will not be placed on injured reserve, at least not yet. New York plays two games in Europe, then will have a week break once they return to the United States .

The Record's Andrew Gross says it's a "big, big if" that Staal is able to use the week before the Rangers play the Islanders to get into game shape. But if he is able to, then Staal should be able travel with the team West. There's a good chance that if he's not ready by then, he'll be placed on IR. The defenseman would not be able to compete in games for at least a week if that's the case.

The Blueshirts will open the season with Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, Michael Sauer, Brendan Bell, Stu Bickel, Steve Eminger and Michael Del Zotto as their defensemen.