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Marc Staal feels well after taking his first shots at practice

Marc Staal attempts a shot in the second

Marc Staal attempts a shot in the second period as Kevin Porter of the Buffalo Sabres defends during a game at Madison Square Garden. (March 3, 2013) Credit: Jim McIsaac

After missing 18 games with an eye injury, Marc Staal was pleased after taking his first shots on a goaltender during an optional practice Wednesday. "It's nice," said Staal, who added that eventually, the next step is "a full-tempo practice, when guys are checking me . . . then where I'm not taking too long to make a decision or to read a coverage."

His peripheral vision "is fine," Staal said. "I have full eyesight, the [right] one is just blurry still. Depth perception is a little different. The shooting is fine, passing is OK," Staal said. "It's just an adjustment with things coming at me, catching passes, things in tight."

Speaking to Dany Heatley, Colin White and Manny Malhotra about "the ups and downs of an eye injury and the adjustment they made on the ice and how things eventually got completely back to normal was a big help," Staal said. "I look forward to playing for a long time."


Miller sent down

J.T. Miller, who was sent to the AHL Tuesday, is healthy. "It has nothing to do with his [sore] wrist, he needs to play. He has a bright future, but the future is not right now," coach John Tortorella said. "I like where the lineup is; he did some good things, but you could see more and more mistakes were coming into his game."


Torts praises Stralman

Tortorella doesn't spend his day poring over stats. "Plus-minus means nothing," he said. "I spend four hours watching tape, to see how they handle themselves, little subtle plays," and used defenseman Anton Stralman as an example. "He has certainly stepped up. He's been willing to take a hit, but he sets himself up sometimes. I wish he didn't."

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