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Tracking the Storm

Jordan Staal's Debut Draws Near

Tuesday, 01.08.2013 / 3:00 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Jordan Staal\'s Debut Draws Near
Jordan Staal stepped foot inside PNC Arena for the first time last July when he met the media after being traded to and signing his 10-year contract extension with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Michael Smith
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It was expected that the 24-year-old would make his on-ice debut just a few short months later, but a 113-day work stoppage prolonged the wait.

Now, he couldn’t be more excited – or relieved – that he’ll be in the team’s newly renovated locker room in mere days.

“It’s been tough and frustrating for a lot of players, but especially for me,” Staal said. “I really want to be a part of the organization, get to know everyone and get the season started.”

“It hasn’t felt like he’s been part of our team yet,” Eric Staal said on Monday. “He wants to play in front of our fans.”

Though he hasn’t set foot in the arena since the summer, Jordan Staal has tried to stay busy in the Triangle. He and his wife settled into their new home in October.

“We’re really getting comfortable with the city,” the Thunder Bay, Ont., native said. “We love it, and we’re excited to be here for a long time.”

Aside from an extended two-week break at Christmas that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible, Staal has been a part of the small group of Hurricanes players skating thrice a week at Raleigh Center Ice.

That group, now ballooning as training camp draws nearer, is skating each morning this week at RCI with a noticed jolt in intensity.

“The guys have been having some good skates the last few days, trying to build it back up again,” he said. “Just trying to stay prepared for the season.”

One of two new top six forwards set to be in the Canes lineup on opening night, Staal was looking forward to a routine training camp and large exhibition schedule, in which head coach Kirk Muller and his staff would have been experimenting and tweaking the combinations. Now, all 30 NHL teams are facing the reality of a week-long training camp, at best.

With talented new faces, is chemistry a concern? Not for Staal.

“I think everyone is probably in the same situation. It’s going to be tight,” he said. “You just have to do the best you can and find a way to get that chemistry as quick as possible to generate wins right off the bat.”

After the start of the season, it will be a mad dash for mid- to late-April. Coached by three former players who have experienced a shortened season (John MacLean won the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in the 1994-95 48-game season), Staal is well aware of the stakes.

“Every game is going to be that much bigger. To get a good start is a big thing,” he said. “Being prepared for every game and the beginning of the season are the keys.”

Until the start of the season, still yet to be determined, there is much preparation to be done. Staal, who will make his on-ice debut with the Hurricanes very soon, is happy to be skating with a clear purpose.

“With the light at the end of the tunnel finally here, the guys are excited to get going,” he said.



SCHEDULE

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
3 NYI 62 40 20 2 200 173 82
4 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
5 DET 60 34 15 11 176 156 79
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 62 33 19 10 184 156 76
8 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
9 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 61 25 27 9 137 161 59
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 59 22 30 7 134 159 51
16 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 59 11 27 -16 38
E. Staal 54 18 18 -9 36
E. Lindholm 58 11 15 -16 26
J. Skinner 54 15 9 -16 24
R. Nash 56 7 14 -9 21
N. Gerbe 55 6 14 -13 20
A. Sekera 57 2 17 -7 19
V. Rask 57 8 10 -18 18
J. McClement 59 4 12 1 16
J. Staal 23 4 11 -1 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 16 19 4 .914 2.35
A. Khudobin 6 11 3 .901 2.73