The "bad days" are still a rare occurrence for Marc Staal as he continues to recover from a concussion. And while he has no timetable, the defenseman expects to play for the Rangers this season.

"I think the rate of improvement the last month or so, I feel I'll be back and that's the plan," Staal said Thursday in his first public comments since Sept. 30.

Staal, accompanying the Rangers for the second straight trip, had a light skate with injured left wing Mike Rupp at the RBC Center. Staal resumed skating Monday after being cleared for light workouts by Boston-based specialist Dr. Robert Cantu on Nov. 15.

The RBC Center is, of course, where his brother, Eric, of the Hurricanes, leveled him on Feb. 22. Marc Staal missed the next three games but only two more the rest of the season and played in all five playoff games. The headaches worsened this summer when he tried to intensify his workouts and he has yet to play again.

"I think, looking back, personally I would have taken more time," Staal said of playing last season. "I sugar-coated a lot of things and told myself I was fine and I did feel good. I wasn't feeling 100 percent."