Finally some good news for Marc Staal. He was cleared for contact Monday after having spent the entire 2011-12 season so far on the bench due to a concussion. While he won't play in Monday night's game against the New York Islanders, Staal may be able to return in time to face off against the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 2 for the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
Staal is still feeling the effects of the hit by his brother, Eric, sustained against the Carolina Hurricanes last February. Marc Staal was shut down during training camp in September, and has since been undergoing the slow recovery process associated with nagging concussion symptoms. Now that he is back taking contact, conditioning may be the biggest factor holding Staal back from returning to the Rangers' lineup.