Devils vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Staal Returns to Practice

Saturday, 11.21.2009 / 12:22 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
X
Share with your Friends


Staal Returns to Practice
Saturday’s morning skate had one more participant than expected, even if he won’t suit up against Tampa Bay.

Paul Branecky
Index | Archive
Eric Staal, who has missed the last eight games with an upper body injury, skated with the team for the first time since having to exit the November 1 game against San Jose. He’s still hoping for a return to the lineup next week, perhaps as early as the team’s upcoming road trip through Dallas and Anaheim.

“I’m working and doing everything I can to make sure that I’m back in the lineup as soon as I can at 100 percent,” said Staal, who had been skating on his own prior to today.

“His stride looks like it’s a lot closer to where he wants it to be,” said Coach Paul Maurice. “He’s not shooting the puck (hard), but that’s by design. He’s not supposed to be out there hammering or one-timing the puck. Sometime in the next 10 days we’re hoping he’s back in the lineup, but that will depend on how he gets through each day.”

When Staal missed the Hurricanes’ November 4 game at Florida, it marked just the second game he’s had to sit out in his six-season career and the end of his 349 games-played streak, which ranked second in franchise history.

Although he now admits to playing through an already-existing injury and eventually making it worse, he also said that it wasn’t the first time.  It probably won't be the last.

“It nagged me for a couple of games and got worse and worse, and then in the San Jose game it just tore and I was done after that,” he said. “I’ve had that many times in my career where maybe one or two games in a row I’m not feeling great but good enough, and then you get to the next couple of games and you’re back to 100 percent. I was hoping for that, but it got to the point where it wasn’t going to get back to 100 percent unless I sat out.”

Watching Hurricanes games in the press box was a relatively new experience for Staal, who had not done so since his rookie season. With the team struggling for most of that time until a recent four-game points streak, that turned out to be more frustrating than he could have imagined.

“It’s tough. It’s no fun watching when you can’t do anything or put forth any effort to help your team,” he said. “Your effort goes into making sure you’re working hard to get back into the lineup, and that’s where I’ve been for the last couple of weeks. I’ve worked hard and it’s been a learning experience, but hopefully I can come back better and help our team win games.”

Joni Pitkanen also took the morning skate and will play tonight barring unforeseen circumstances. Maurice said that goaltender Michael Leighton is recovering nicely from his groin injury and would make the upcoming road trip, while Scott Walker will stay behind with his upper-body injury.


SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 CBJ 74 35 35 4 203 230 74
13 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 68 20 27 -13 47
J. Faulk 73 14 32 -18 46
E. Lindholm 72 16 20 -21 36
J. Skinner 68 18 12 -22 30
V. Rask 71 11 19 -12 30
R. Nash 67 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 69 7 17 -13 24
J. McClement 73 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 45 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 37 4 15 -9 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 19 21 5 .910 2.43
A. Khudobin 8 15 5 .903 2.62