by Patrick Hoffman on 10/26/11 at 03:54 PM ET
It is clear that while watching the New York Rangers so far this season, that there is something missing on their blue line and for the Rangers, it is defenseman Marc Staal.
Staal, an all-star defenseman last season for the Blueshirts, is a defenseman who can make smart outlet passes, use the body, block shots and contribute offense every once in awhile. He is a force on the blue line for the Blueshirts and when in the lineup, is the club’s best defenseman.
Without him, the team’s defensive corps has looked quite porous so far. They have been allowing a lot of shots, have been caught out of position several times and have also made many questionable decisions with the puck.
Luckily for the Blueshirts, their goaltending duo of Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Biron have been there to bail them out time and time again through the club’s first seven games. However, one has to wonder how long that will last without Staal in the lineup.
Staal is a vital part of the organization but it is definitely understandable that the club does not want to rush him back because if he gets injured again with a concussion, things could get much, much worse for the Rangers’ best defenseman.
With all of that said, the Blueshirts did receive a bit of good news when they found out that defenseman Michael Sauer is set to return to the lineup for the first time since October 8. With Staal still injured, the return of Sauer will be welcomed with open arms by the team’s defensive unit.
Hopefully, Sauer and the rest of the team’s defense will be able to stay healthy while Staal is on the road to recovery.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.