The Staal family reunion didn't occur on the ice at Madison Square Garden Monday. It took place in Marc Staal's apartment on Manhattan's West Side on Sunday night.
"Mom and his wife cooked dinner," said older brother Eric. "Potatoes and meatballs, old school."
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Not only were the reviews of the meal positive but so were the reports on Marc, the 26-year-old Rangers defenseman who has been sidelined since March 5 after a frightening incident. He was struck near the right eye by a deflected Flyers shot, screamed and lay prone on the ice, bleeding from the face. Everyone feared the worst.
But Eric and Jordan Staal, who are forwards for the Hurricanes, said Marc is in good spirits, that the healing is continuing and that their brother hopes to return this season.
"I think he's in better spirits because he's starting to feel a little more progress," Eric said. "He was in a lot of pain early on. There's a scar above the eye. A lot of the darkness has cleared up. There's still swelling in some areas, but he looks a lot better."
His vision is "not 100 percent yet,'' Eric said. "He's going to the appointments and they tell him good things."
"He does look good. That's good to see," Jordan said. "He still has fractures and other stuff to heal; he got cut down here, too," indicating a spot above his mouth. "He's the usual Marc, chirping. He's on the right track. It's heading in the right direction. He's looking forward to getting back as soon as he can."
The Rangers have not provided any updates, only that there is no timetable for Marc's return. When he does, Jordan said Marc likely will add a visor. Neither brother plays with one.
"We asked him and I think he's gonna wear one," Jordan said, adding that their mother, Linda, who arrived with her husband, Henry, from their home in Thunder Bay, Ontario, "threw a few comments at him."
Eric said Marc, who missed 36 games at the beginning of last season with post-concussion symptoms, isn't frustrated about the long-term injuries.
"It's part of the game,'' he said. "You have injuries. It's how you handle them, and he's handling it. He was in a positive mind-set. It was an unfortunate situation. He was unlucky. I'm sure when he gets back, it won't take him long to get back to where he was. He needs them [the Rangers] as much as they need him."