Defenseman Marc Staal will play his 12th game of the season tonight at Prudential Center. So to pencil him in for 26 minutes on ice is premature.
That's coach John Tortorella's view, who said today that the play of Staal, who missed 36 games and training camp with concussion symptoms, has been "very inconsistent".
"To me, I think it's going to be like that for a while. It's well chronicled when guys miss camp, when they're holding out or whatever it may be, it's a struggle all year long. This is a guy that's missed camp and missed a ton of time after camp."
"I know Marc Staal. Marc Staal wants to get the 26, 27 minutes because that's just what his makeup is. But we're just going to have to make that call and keep trying to help him through and see where we go with him."
"I'm not going to force the minutes...I think he's had some good minutes and I think he's had some struggles. I think the guys that have stepped up in his place have played very well. If we weren't getting the play from some people maybe we'd try to force it along the the way. We're not going to do that. I think Marc is going to be a really good player for us when it's all said and done. When he comes back completely, we can't forecast that. But I'm not going to do special things to get him going because I believe the other guys that have done the job have earned that time to keep on playing there."
"It's just too far along in the season and Marc has missed so much time. It wouldn't be fair to him or the team. We're just going to go just like we always do. These are our pairs. If we think there are some struggles, we may go to four or five (defensemen)."