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Rangers defenseman Marc Staal feeling better, resumes skating

Marc Staal (18) carries the puck up the

Marc Staal (18) carries the puck up the ice while Buffalo Sabres center Steve Ott (9) and Rangers left winger Mats Zuccarello (36) tangle alongside the net during the first period. (Dec. 5, 2013) Credit: AP

Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, who has been out since suffering a concussion in early December, resumed skating Saturday and was back on the ice alone Sunday after the team's morning skate.

There still is no timetable for a return, but Staal told reporters at the team's practice facility that he felt good and went harder on the ice Sunday than he had the day before. He could skate again Monday and will continue to try to progress during the three-day holiday break.

"The same workout I did last week that I had a tough time with, I did this week and got through it fine," Staal said Sunday morning before going on the ice. "It's a gauge and you just keep ramping it up as you feel better. And that's what I've been doing. You never really know until you go full tempo . . . After starting up like this, it would be tough to shut it down for three days."

Staal took a high hit from Devils forward Reid Boucher in the third period of the Rangers' 4-3 overtime loss Dec. 7 at the Garden. "Right then, I knew something was wrong," Staal said.

He should know.

The Rangers' alternate captain suffered a concussion in a game against Carolina on Feb. 22, 2011, when hit by his brother Eric. He returned to action that season and wound up missing the first 36 games the next season because of the injury.

Staal said he learned from that experience and was better educated about how to handle the injury this time around.

"Having come back too early from a previous one and going through all the stuff that I did, I think maybe if I hadn't gone through that, I might've just skated to the bench, waited for things to clear up and go back out," Staal said. "Last time, I played through a concussion for so long that the effects just dragged on forever. [This time] from day to day afterward, I've felt better, quicker. There's no comparison."

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