Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rangers Place Staal on IR, Recall Tim Erixon, Send Avery, Bickel and Bell to AHL

Lots of news from the Rangers today, and not all of it is good. First and most importantly, Marc Staal has been placed on Injured Reserve which means the absolute earliest he can play is October 15 against the Islanders, though right now that seems highly unlikely. Glen Sather told Larry Brooks in the New York Post today that "doctors have said it could be a week, but it could also be a month" before Marc Staal comes back. Earlier in the day Bob McKenzie of TSN Tweeted that the Rangers were shutting down Marc Staal's rehab completely because he wasn't getting any better, but Larry Brooks Tweeted in response that the Rangers "emphatically deny" that Staal has suffered a setback.

Meanwhile, Stu Bickel, Brendan Bell and Sean Avery have all cleared waivers and been optioned to the Connecticut Whale. Avery was on the first flight out of Sweden this morning, while Bell and Bickel are still with the team in Sweden. Again, I'm not quite sure what the point was in putting them through waivers yesterday if there's a chance either defenseman could suit up for the team in the event of an emergency. Larry Brooks Tweeted that Avery is not immediately expected to report to Connecticut, and his agent will continue exploring other options.

The whole Staal situation is just strange and not good at all. From what Glen Sather and John Tortorella have said, it seems like Staal has been experiencing concussion side effects all offseason, yet the team really made no efforts to bring in any sort of insurance policy in case Staal wasn't ready to begin the season, which now has become a reality.

We saw how long Brad Richards was out last year and we continue to see how long it's taking Sidney Crosby to recover from a concussion he suffered last January. There's really no timetable on when we can expect Staal to return. With concussions, one day you can wake up feeling completely fine and the next day you can wake up with a splitting headache. Losing Staal for a long period of time, though, would be a gigantic blow to the Rangers in getting where they hope to go this season.

With Staal out the team has recalled defenseman Tim Erixon, who is en-route to Sweden and will be in the lineup for the season opener on Friday. Presumably, the pairings will be McDonagh-Girardi, Del Zotto-Sauer, Erixon-Eminger for the two games in Europe. This is another head scratcher to me because six days ago the team optioned out Erixon and sent him back to the US, only to wind up bringing him back so he could start the season in the NHL. The whole situation just had a lot of odd twists and turns with how it's being handled to me.

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