Marc Staal’s playoff experience will be leaned on heavily by Rangers defense
Tony DeAngelo is the Rangers leading scorer on the blue-line this season. His 53 points in 68 games shows he can score in the regular season, but he has never tasted NHL playoff action. I believe he can score, but it will still be a new experience.
While the defense looks to DeAngelo for offense on the back-end, all eyes turn to Marc Staal for leadership on defense. You see, on Saturday when the 33 year-old veteran steps on the ice against the Carolina Hurricanes, he will be playing in his 105th playoff contest.
Bottom line, experience can’t be taught, it is earned. Marc Staal has earned everything by laying it all on the ice.
Marc Staal, the “Legend”
On DeAngelo’s last “Watch Your Tone” podcast, the question came up about which veterans take the younger players under their wings. The young defenseman immediately brought up Marc Staal. “My nickname for him is “Lege” for Legend, because he’s a beauty,” he replied.
“He’s a great guy that has done everything (in this league),” Tony expanded. “There is nothing he hasn’t done, he’s a leader and everybody loves him.” The praise for Staal continued, as did the respect which Staal has earned through 13 years of hard fought battles.
Marc Staal eager to get back into the playoffs
Before the team left for Toronto, Staal expressed to the media just how much he wants to play in post-season action action. “Now that the day is here, everyone’s pretty excited,” the grizzly vet said. “I think the energy around the room was giddy and guys were excited to get there. I think everyone’s itching to play competitive hockey again.”
Staal admitted that practices were starting to wear on him because he wanted to get out there and make an impact in a real game. Now the team is just over 24 hours away from facing off against the Islanders in exhibition competition.
Marc Staal the leader on defense
When the Rangers begin elimination hockey against Carolina, it will be DeAngelo and Adam Fox powering the offense. When it comes to big physical contact and clearing the crease they will rely on Jacob Trouba, Ryan Lindgren and Brendan Smith.
As far as who the team will turn to in the locker room, it will undoubtedly be Marc Staal. When things are not going well on the ice, all heads will turn his way to settle the situation down and get things under control.
While the Rangers have the second youngest team in the playoffs, they are not void of veteran leadership. Chris Kreider up front, Henrik Lundqvist in net, and Marc Staal as the Secretary of Defense.
Staal may be battered and bruised from years of intense hockey, but he can still help this team in a 3rd pair role and on the PK. If the Rangers intend on winning the Cup, they will need his presence in the room. And for what it’s worth, I bet there are still a couple of big plays in him too.