Aug 29, 2014, 9:30 PM EDT
About a month ago, Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal underwent vaguely described “core muscle” surgery that may or may not be somewhat like getting a sports hernia treated. He participated in his first informal skate with the team on Friday, and from what he told the Raleigh News & Observer, it sounds like he’s off to a good start.
“I feel good,” he said. “I just want to continue to take steps before (training) camp opens and then look forward to the start of the year.”
The 30-year-old forward explained that the issue resulted from training and wasn’t a nagging issue that plagued his disappointing 2013-14 season. Staal stated that he was believed he was in the best shape of his life* before that ailment came up, but perhaps he was pushing too hard?
This Hurricanes team is tough to peg this season because of players like Staal; one could easily see them crash and burn yet again, yet there’s always the possibility that key core figures will rebound and/or enjoy better health in 2014-15.
There’s also the possibility that new head coach Bill Peters might get more out of this team than former bench boss Kirk Muller did. Staal said that he engaged in a “productive” 45-minute discussion with the new coach back in July, so at least there’s been some dialogue between the two.
Staal’s 61 point output last season was a big disappointment considering that he didn’t really blow away his work from the lockout-abbreviated 2012-13 campaign (61 points in 79 games versus 53 in 48 contests). Staal never dipped below 70 points in a normal campaign aside from his rookie season back in 2003-04, and with his $8.25 million cap hit and his $9.25 million salary for each of the next two seasons, there’s a lot of pressure for Staal to turn things around.
Being close to 100 percent certainly wouldn’t hurt his chances, so this positive update at least prompts some optimism.
* – Please don’t take a shot any time you read that phrase this summer, especially as training camps approach.
May 4, 2015, 4:24 PM EDT
“Coming out of junior, we had such high hopes for him.”
May 4, 2015, 4:09 PM EDT
Big news from the Devils.
May 4, 2015, 3:31 PM EDT
And Glen Sather isn’t sure he’ll ever permit it, either.
May 4, 2015, 3:10 PM EDT
“I have to get to the inside; that’s the biggest thing.”
May 4, 2015, 2:28 PM EDT
The Ducks have been deadly on the power play, unlike during the regular season.
May 4, 2015, 1:52 PM EDT
Youth-laden squad continues to impress.
May 4, 2015, 1:12 PM EDT
“If it means allowing players to go to free agency, if it means making players sweat it out on what their deal’s going to be, he’s the priority for us.”
May 4, 2015, 1:07 PM EDT
Virtanen was the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft.
May 4, 2015, 12:49 PM EDT
Jets’ AHL team will play at the MTS Centre next season.
May 4, 2015, 12:34 PM EDT
He’s hoping to “find a way to get a bigger role.”
May 4, 2015, 11:37 AM EDT
“Prust has engaged himself in something that’s going to take him into an area where he doesn’t want to be part of.”
May 4, 2015, 11:28 AM EDT
So says Bruce Boudreau.
May 4, 2015, 11:07 AM EDT
Trevor Lewis put the Americans out to an early advantage.
May 4, 2015, 10:52 AM EDT
Former Minnesota farmhand is on his way to Frolunda.
May 4, 2015, 10:05 AM EDT
Could play on Wednesday against Russia.
May 4, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
Game 3 between the Rangers and Capitals is the lone game on the schedule.
May 4, 2015, 8:05 AM EDT
Monday’s collection of links.
May 4, 2015, 1:04 AM EDT
The last team to open the playoffs with at least six straight wins was Pittsburgh in 2008.
May 4, 2015, 12:18 AM EDT
He’ll be looking for the Wild to do better mentally at home.
May 3, 2015, 11:42 PM EDT
There are three contests scheduled for Sunday.
- Red Wings’ Devellano calls Mantha ‘very, very, very disappointing’ 11
- End of an era in New Jersey as Shero replaces Lamoriello as GM 14
- Once again, Rick Nash isn’t scoring in the playoffs 17
- Video: U.S. stays unbeaten at Worlds with win over defending champs Russia 7
- Andersen shuts out Flames as Ducks stay perfect in playoffs 6
- Wild can’t contain ‘Hawks star forwards in Game 2 41
- Prust blasts referee Watson after getting tossed from Game 2 28
- Stamkos, power play comes alive as Lightning take 2-0 series lead vs. Habs 29
- Video: Stamkos ends goal drought in style 9
- Here’s your Stanley Cup playoff TV schedule for tonight 9
- Niklas Kronwall suspended for Game 7 vs. Tampa Bay (116)
- Vigneault: ‘Standards have been set’ after Ovechkin, Backstrom hits (103)
- Friedman: Penguins need to ‘think about’ trading Malkin (89)
- Report: Developers file intent to build arena in Seattle suburb (81)
- Lightning’s Bishop silences Red Wings in hard fought Game 7 (81)