After suffering a core muscle injury during offseason training, Carolina Hurricanes star Eric Staal underwent surgery to correct the issue Tuesday.
According to Terrell Williams of Hurricanes.com, general manager Ron Francis expects his captain to be ready for training camp and the start of the regular season.
"Eric notified us of the injury late last week, and flew to Raleigh and then Philadelphia to be evaluated," Francis said. "By having this procedure now, Dr. (William) Meyers believes Eric will be able to return to action for training camp and be at full health for the start of the regular season."
That is certainly encouraging news for Canes fans, but there is always a certain level of concern involved with a key player undergoing surgery. Carolina struggled to a 13th-place finish in the Eastern Conference last season even with Staal in action for almost every game.
Staal did manage 21 goals and 61 points in 2013-14, but his production was somewhat disappointing overall. He shockingly netted just one power-play goal, which new Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters is aiming to fix, per Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer:
Peters says Eric Staal scoring one power-play goal is "unacceptable" and needs to be addressed and rectified.— Chip Alexander (@ice_chip) July 26, 2014
If Staal enters the regular season at anything less than 100 percent, then it obviously won't be an ideal situation. Staal has largely been an extremely durable player over the course of his career having missed just four games over the past four seasons, so it will be interesting to see how quickly he heals.
The Hurricanes have far more talent than their poor showing last season suggests, but production from Staal is an absolute must.
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It is better for an injury to creep up now when there is still time to recover than it would have been had something happened closer to the start of the season.
An injury to a core muscle can be tricky in hockey since that part of a player's body is key in terms of producing a powerful skating stride, so there is no question that Hurricanes fans will keep close tabs on Staal's progress.
If his recovery takes shape as expected, then the Canes will certainly have a chance to surprise some people in the Eastern Conference this season.
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