Marc Staal
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Defenseman Marc Staal was a surprising healthy scratch recently, but now the struggling New York Rangers announced he’s injured.

While the New York Rangers practiced outdoors today in the city’s frigid weather, there’s been one longtime Blueshirt who’s recently been on the outside looking in.

Marc Staal was reportedly a healthy scratch back on Oct. 29, which was a rare occurrence for his commendable career with the Rangers. Yet, after missing two additional games and then returning to the Rangers lineup on Nov. 6, New York announced interesting news on Saturday.

The team sited that Staal underwent a surgical procedure “for an infection in his ankle.”

While New York announced that the Thunder Bay, Ontario native will be evaluated in a couple of weeks, some Ranger fans have to wonder if the injury could keep the 13-year Blueshirt out of the lineup for a greater length.

Staal is no spring chicken anymore and has logged plenty of miles with the Rangers. As noted earlier, he’s found himself as a healthy scratch and the other up and coming blueliners need to see the ice more often.

There’s no disrespect towards the former cornerstone of the Rangers’ blueline from the fan base, but the time arrived arguably last season for Staal’s role to decrease with the team.

The Rangers have struggled to kick off what was thought to be an exciting year, and one has to wonder if the team will show improvements without Staal dressed, or is the team still going to play .500 hockey at best?

When one man, unfortunately, goes down, there’s room for opportunity for another. Still, this hockey enthusiast believes that the Garden faithful are still in for a struggling product to perform on Broadway over the next few weeks – with or without No. 18 in the lineup.

New York’s schedule for the remainder of November isn’t necessarily favorable.

The Staal-less Rangers face-off with a hungry Florida Panthers team on Sunday, Nov. 10, and then have games with playoff contenders such as the Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens and Carolina Hurricanes.

For the record, New York posted a 2-1-0 record without Staal, but the one loss was one of the ugliest in recent memory at Madison Square Garden (6-2 to the Ottawa Senators).

Either way, this Rangers rebuilding squad needs the heart and soul of the organization involved in some way shape or form.

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Kyle McKenna is a freelancer who covers the NHL for Elite Sports New York, Hooked On Hockey Magazine & Fansided. Follow him on Twitter @KMcKenna_tLT5 and use the hashtag #McKennasDigest to have your NHL questions featured in an article or answered over his weekly NHL podcast.