Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal is officially listed as "week-to-week" and he will miss tonight's game in Florida. Staal had one of the longest active consecutive game streaks running in the NHL, 349 games, and has only missed one game so far in his career. He reportedly has an upper body injury serious enough to keep him out of action for a few games.
Staal has had a rough start to the season and missed a week or so of practice last month with a lower body concern. He has not had the typical explosive first step he normally does and his shot has not been up to his standards. The team has certainly missed his normal scoring prowess as the all star only has three goals and two assists so far this season.
The center has such a presence and is so important to all things Carolina that even practice seems different without him there. But could his absence actually end up making Carolina a stronger team in the long run? Of course that all depends upon what happens tonight. If the team can put together a good showing without Staal, and perhaps even win, what a huge confidence boost that would be.
In other news, the Toronto Maple Leafs picked up a point last night in an overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. That gives them a total of seven points, the same number as the Hurricanes. Although since Carolina has more wins, they technically are not tied for last place in the league, but that is a pretty thin technicality.
Brian LeBlanc from The Puck Drops asked me to participate in another podcast earlier in the week. This one was in a roundtable format and included Phil and Brandon. We were not able to figure out exactly what was wrong with the Canes, but it was fun talking about it.
SB Nation upgraded some features on the site yesterday. The changes are mostly cosmetic as they softened some angles, changed some fonts, and lightened a few colors. If you see any problems or have feedback, please let us know.
I will have the game preview up around lunchtime.