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Canada Tries Staal on the Left

Tuesday, 09.1.2009 / 1:43 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Canada Tries Staal on the Left
With the Team Canada organizers facing a logjam at center, it appears they’re being a little creative in trying to fit the best players on their roster.

Paul Branecky
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Eric Staal, who hasn’t played on the wing since his rookie year in 2003-04 and spent only a small amount of time there as a youngster, spent all of last week’s Olympic orientation camp on the left side. During the camp’s final scrimmage, he started on a line with Jason Spezza and Corey Perry.

“It’s different when you’re used to playing center most your life and at certain times you play wing, but in the end it’s still hockey,” said Staal. “There are little adjustments you make as a player, but I feel like I’m a pretty versatile guy that can play in any situation and play it well.”

It isn’t a lock that Staal would be on the wing if he makes the team for the Olympics in Vancouver – a number of things can happen before the final roster is set in a few months – but the camp shows that it’s a real possibility. Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Vincent Lecavalier, Joe Thornton, Mike Richards and Eric’s brother Jordan headline the group of centers invited to the orientation camp, meaning that the team could maximize its roster by sliding one over to the wing. 

In that scenario, his versatility will help him make the team.  Even though he's admittedly more comfortable at center, he’d gladly take that move.  Still, he hopes that it won’t turn into a permanent thing with the Hurricanes, even if they’re another team with a solid group down the middle.

“I’d rather stick to my natural position for my team here,” he said.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 49 36 9 4 161 110 76
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
4 TBL 50 28 18 4 131 115 60
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
7 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
8 NJD 52 26 20 6 117 118 58
9 PIT 49 25 17 7 126 122 57
10 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 54
11 CAR 52 23 21 8 124 138 54
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 53 20 28 5 133 167 45

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 52 14 19 -15 33
K. Versteeg 51 10 21 2 31
V. Rask 50 12 18 0 30
E. Staal 52 9 21 1 30
J. Skinner 52 18 11 -4 29
J. Staal 52 11 16 4 27
E. Lindholm 52 8 16 -7 24
A. Nestrasil 45 5 12 -4 17
R. Hainsey 52 3 11 -14 14
J. Liles 52 5 7 -4 12
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 14 11 5 .905 2.41
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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