Staal expected to miss start of regular season - 09-16-10

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins center Jordan Staal (above) is expected to miss the start of the regular season due to a right foot ailment.

Staal, 22, initially was injured in Game 1 of last season Eastern Conference semifinal playoff round against the Montreal Canadiens when his right foot collided with the right skate of Canadiens defenseman PK Subban. Staal suffered a lacerated tendon in his foot.

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Despite the inital injury and surgery to repair it, Staal only missed two games of the series.

According to Dr. Charles Burke, the Penguins’ team physician, Staal developed a post-operation infection in his foot this offseason. Staal is expected to take five to six weeks to recover.

Assuming Staal is definitely sidelined, his consecutive games streak of 302 regular season contests will come to an end. Only Ron Schock (313) has a longer streak in franchise history. During his career, Staal has only missed on regular season game.  He was a healthy scratch for a 3-2 loss against the Panthers, Dec. 5, 2006 during his rookie season.

Last season, Staal was the team's fifth-leading scorer with 49 points (21 goals, 28 assists) and was a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Award as the league's best defensive forward.

EN Says: It's a shame Staal came so close to surpassing Schock's record but that's immaterial when you look at the big picture. The standard with this franchise is winning the Stanley Cup. Not establishing individual marks.

Staal is a major part of this franchise and is a major part of it being a Stanley Cup contender. It's best to get him 100 percent healthy during realtively meaningless games in October so he can get back to the business of killing penalties in May.

The timing of this bodes well for the likes of Mark Letestu (right), Dustin Jeffrey, Eric Tangradi and several other forward prospects in the Penguins organization. After the recent free agent signings of Arron Asham and Mike Comrie, the Penguins had 13 forwards on one-way NHL contracts. That pretty much ruled out any chance of one of the team's prospects earning a spot on the NHL roster out of training camp. Staal's injury clears the way for at least one of them to begin 2010-11 in the NHL.

This injury will also likely keep Evgeni Malkin at center for the time being. It appeared that the Penguins planned on moving Staal up from the third line to the second in order to center a line with Evgeni Malkin on one of the wings this season.

(Photo: Staal-Jamie Sabau/Getty Images; Letestu-Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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