Marc Staal has returned.
John Tortorella announced in his pre-Winter Classic press conference early Tuesday afternoon that the Rangers’ All-Star defenseman will make his 2011-12 season debut against the Flyers.
Staal has not played this season while recovering from post-concussion symptoms that developed over the summer. Staal was elbowed in the head by his brother, Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal, during the Rangers’ 4-3 shootout win at Raleigh’s RBC Center on Feb. 22, 2011.
Tortorella said he had received a “yes” from trainer Jim Ramsay and Staal, independent of the other.
Staal will play on the third pair. Tortorella was not sure which defenseman he would scratch in order to fit Staal in.
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman for live updates from the Winter Classic.