Defenseman Marc Staal has been a fixture on the Rangers' blue line for a decade-plus. That came to an end this past week.
On Tuesday against the Lightning, Staal was made a healthy scratch by head coach David Quinn. It was the first time that's happened in his career.
On Friday, Staal said he was given little notice of the decision and that only added to his displeasure. In addition, Staal is sitting out Saturday's meeting with the Predators as well.
"Obviously I was upset and pretty frustrated," Staal told reporters. "But, you know, obviously at this point you want to be in the lineup, you want to play. I want to get that next opportunity so I can make the most of it."
Quinn called the decision to bench the 32-year-old defender a performance-based decision. The coach added there's still a chance for Staal to change his fortunes as well.
"He understands what he needs to do to get back in. He's a guy who I really think will elevate his game to where he's going to be [in the lineup] night in and night out, or at least I hope so. If he does what I know he's capable of, he'll be in the lineup. We need him. … We need him," Quinn said.
"We want to win hockey games," Quinn added. "At the end of the day, that's what it's about."
Staal has an even plus-minus ratio this season for the Rangers with one goal in nine games. He has no assists. The veteran, who is under contract for next season as well, says he's motivated to change the narrative.
"When I get my next opportunity, I'll have to make the most of it," said Staal. "I think, internally, what it always comes down to is obviously [there is] a reason why they decided to take me out. So, just don't give them that reason."