The Carolina Hurricanes announced awful news regarding Jordan Staal on Thursday: he’ll need surgery to repair a fractured fibula in his right leg and is expected to miss three-to-four months.
Staal, 26, suffered the injury after being tangled up with Buffalo Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges, who told the Olean Times Herald’s Bill Hoppe the following about the moment:
“It was one of those plays, where as soon as I landed on him, I heard him scream,” Gorges said. “I knew right away something must’ve hurt him.”
By the three-to-four month standard, it sounds like Staal won’t be able to return until the December holiday season or sometime in early January. The two-way center hadn’t missed a single Hurricanes game in his first two seasons with the team, but he could miss close to half of the 2014-15 campaign.
Granted, hockey players are known to come back early from certain ailments, so you never know.
A big blow to the Hurricanes
Regardless, this is a brutal loss for a Hurricanes team coming into a pivotal season. A brand new management group (at least at key positions with new GM Ron Francis and new head coach Bill Peters) decided to stick with Carolina’s expensive core for at least this coming campaign, so seeing a key member go down in a mostly meaningless game is a cruel twist.
While Staal hasn’t been the kind of scorer one might expect from a second overall pick (the Pittsburgh Penguins grabbed him over the likes of Jonathan Toews and Phil Kessel in 2006), he’s the useful sort of player who can drive possession play even with tough assignments and shaky linemates.
No doubt, this is a harsh loss for a team that many pegged as an underdog/cellar dweller even with a healthy Jordan Staal.