The New York Rangers have confirmed defenseman Marc Staal will miss training camp scrimmages and exhibition games because of post-concussion symptoms that have persisted.
No one feels any worse about that situation than Eric Staal. It was his big hit on his brother in a Feb. 22 game at the RBC Center that caused the concussion and also left Marc Staal with a knee injury.
"It's difficult. It's difficult for me and difficult for him," Eric Staal said today. "It's one of those situations that's kind of scary. You obviously don't want to hurt somebody, especially when it's your own family. It's just one of those things he has had a tough time with."
Marc Staal missed three games after the injuries but did play for the Rangers down the stretch last season as New York edged out the Canes for the last Eastern playoff spot. But he began to experience the post-concussion symptoms in summer workouts in Thunder Bay, Ont.
"There were times he was making progress and doing well, then had some setbacks," Eric Staal said. "He took some time off, then tried to amp it up again and it was difficult for him. He dealt with it most of the summer.
"I think right now they're just being real cautious with where he's at and make sure he's 100 percent healthy. Hopefully he can keep progressing in the right direction and he can get back going, because he's one of their best players and he wants to be out there with their team.
"It (stinks). It's not fun for him or fun for me."
In January, the Staals sat side by side in the Canes' RBC Center locker room during the All-Star Game festivities. Eric Staal, an All-Star captain, chose Marc to be on Team Staal and the two enjoyed being on the same side for once.
Then, the big collision. Eric Staal caught Marc near the Rangers bench and delivered the hit, causing the RBC Center to quickly fall silent as fans realized what had happened and who were involved.
Eric Staal and his family also were in Thunder Bay this summer. The brothers socialized and worked out, as usual. Marc's injury, Eric said, did not strain the brotherly ties that are so strong in the Staal family.
"It's been difficult and it's just unfortunate the way it all happened," Eric said. "It's just one of those things that happen in the course of games. Things happen."
Staal smiled a little, adding, "I was still in his wedding party. We're still very close, talk a lot."
Rangers coach John Tortorella told the New York media that Marc Staal was "progressing well" and should be ready for the regular season.