Staal returns, ‘Canes hold 1st team practice in more than a week after COVID-19 sidelines some players

Carolina Hurricanes
NHL_ FEB 06 Flyers at Hurricanes_605400

RALEIGH, NC – FEBRUARY 06: Carolina Hurricanes Center Jordan Staal (11)during the 1st period of the Carolina Hurricanes game versus the Philadelphia Flyers on February 06, 2018, at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC. (Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Carolina Hurricanes practiced as a team at PNC Arena on Tuesday for the first time in more than a week.

Team activities had been halted soon after the team’s 4-2 win in Nashville on Jan. 18 after a handful of ‘Canes players tested positive for COVID-19.

Five players still remain on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list: Forwards Jesper Fast, Teuvo Teravainen, Jordan Martinook, Warren Foegele, and defenseman Jaccob Slavin. Meanwhile, Jordan Staal, the first Canes player to contract the virus, was back on the ice this morning.

“No one wants to be the guy and clearly it was me for bringing it into the room,” Staal said. “I was trying to be safe and it’s unfortunate. I feel bad for the guys who are sitting in the hotels right now. It’s not fun.”

Staal said he had the chills for about 24 hours but that was it as far as how he felt after getting sick.

“I had to stay away from the family for 10 days and that was the hardest part,” Staal explained. “It’s a weird situation. It is what it is, and I’m just happy to be back.”

And now, a schedule that was already tight becomes even tighter for the Hurricanes with their four postponed games now thrown into the condensed ledger. Still, they’re just happy to be back after seemingly watching the “hockey world” pass them by recently.

“It felt like everything was going and we were just sitting here not a part of it,” said head coach Rod Brind’Amour. “We all knew this was a possibility. Or, maybe a better way to put it is ‘probability’ that something like this was going to happen, and unfortunately, it got us right away.

“But you know what? Nobody cares. They’re moving on and we have to catch up.”

For the Hurricanes, the battle to “catch up” begins Thursday when Carolina plays its first game in 10 days. Tampa Bay will visit Raleigh for what will be Carolina’s home opener.

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