Marc Staal did not take part in the Rangers optional practice Friday afternoon at the MSG Training Center, but there was good news on his recovery from the concussion he suffered last Saturday against the New Jersey Devils.
"He's doing well," head coach Alain Vigneault said of Staal. "He's been doing off-ice conditioning the last three days. As far as I know he's been doing real well. I'm not exactly sure what the next steps are, but he's been working out off the ice here."
Though that's all that the head coach said about Staal on Friday, it was clearly good news, and in line with what Vigneault told reporters earlier in the week that doctors believed this concussion was not nearly as severe as the one that sidelined him for the first 36 games of the 2011-12 season.
Despite the positive report from Vigneault, there is no official timetable for Staal to return to the ice at this point in time.
Twelve skaters and both goalies took part in Friday's optional practice, with the injured Staal, Ryan Callahan, and Derick Brassard among those who did not take to the ice. Staal and Callahan's injuries are longer term, while Brassard---who has a sore backside and missed Thursday's 4-2 loss to the Blue Jackets---was not scheduled to practice Friday. Vigneault was not sure if Brassard will be able to practice Saturday, or play Sunday against the Calgary Flames, just yet.
Among those who skated Friday was rookie defenseman Dylan McIlrath who made his NHL debut the night before. He told BlueshirtsUnited.com that his entire family made it from Western Canada to watch him at The Garden last night and that he has had little sleep the past two nights, but is still thrilled at the experience of having played his first NHL game.
The Rangers will look to snap their four-game winless streak (0-3-1) when they host the Flames on Sunday. Vigneault said he is unsure of the makeup of his lineup as of Friday, but he did confirm that Henrik Lundqvist---despite being pulled in the first period Thursday---will start in goal Sunday.