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Lightning vs. Hurricanes
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.



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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 41 15 13 -8 28
J. Faulk 46 8 18 -14 26
J. Skinner 41 10 9 -7 19
E. Lindholm 46 9 10 -10 19
R. Nash 46 7 12 -4 19
J. Tlusty 39 11 7 -12 18
N. Gerbe 42 4 13 -2 17
V. Rask 46 6 9 -9 15
A. Sekera 44 1 14 -8 15
C. Terry 33 6 3 -3 9
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 5 8 2 .916 2.32
C. Ward 11 17 3 .911 2.45