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Staal skates twice, vision and conditioning better

Marc Staal is assisted off the ice after

Marc Staal is assisted off the ice after being hit by a puck in the third period of a game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden. (March 5, 2013) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Marc Staal is progressing, but he’s not ready for the lineup yet.

Staal, wearing a visor to protect his right eye, which was struck by a deflected puck on March 5 against the Flyers, skated twice Wednesday, once in a full practice with the team in a “non-contact with the eye [jersey]”, he joked.

Fellow blueliner Ryan McDonagh was encouraged: “He is getting better fast, which is a good sign. He wants to be out there and he’s working hard after practice doing extra drills and conditioning. Great to see.”

Staal’s vision in the eye has improved to the point where he can read, and drive, but lights create glare and it is still blurry, he said, adding that he is not prepared to play quite yet because he is having issues with handling rim-arounds and dumps. He said he’d know when he was ready.  

But he remains cautious.

“From the guys I’ve talked to who have this type of thing, they’ve kind of warned me about setting a goal for myself as far as being back," Staal said. "In case you don’t reach it, you could get frustrated and disappointed. It’s a cliché, but I’m going back tomorrow and work and get stronger.”

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