First Contact For Staal

Rangers defenseman Marc Staal took another big step forward in his return from a concussion Monday at Madison Square Garden as the All Star blueliner participated in contact drills for the first time. An upbeat Staal then reported afterwards, "I feel really good. It's been a long time. I have been feeling really good the past couple of weeks, and it was the next step in getting back to playing. I did some battle drills down low today, took some hits, and felt good." While Staal cautioned that there is still not set timetable for his return to the lineup---and that he has yet to discuss if he will take part in more contact drills on Tuesday---he did reiterate how confident he was that he was fully prepared for this next step. "Today I felt fully confident going on the ice and taking some hits," explained Staal, who has yet to play a game this season. "There was not a doubt in my mind that this wasn't the right thing to do with the way I was feeling. I think the more I do it, and the more positive outcomes from it, the easier it will be." Staal also added that he understands there is still much work ahead for him. "I felt like I was a step behind with where guys are going to go and what they are going to do," explained the Rangers alternate captain. "It will take a bit to get my timing back. Like everyone says, you can work out all summer as hard  as you want, the moment you get into a corner and start pushing ans shoving and hitting, it just drains you. So it will be good to get that back." Share your thoughts on Staal's progress below.