Rangers D Staal returns from injury for Classic

New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal made his return to the

lineup after a nearly yearlong absence from a concussion.

Staal, who turns 25 in January, has been out all season because

of the effects of a concussion sustained in February when he was

hit by his brother, Eric, a forward for the Carolina Hurricanes. He

has been skating this month and was cleared for light contact.

Staal was set to make his debut Monday against the Philadelphia

Flyers in the Winter Classic.

Rangers Coach John Tortorella said on Saturday that nothing had

changed and he did not expect Staal to play. Staal practiced

Saturday and was on the ice for warmups before the Flyers game.