PITTSBURGH — The Hurricanes are being diplomatic in what they say publicly about Erik Cole's injury in Game 1 and the knee-to-knee hit he took from the Penguins' Matt Cooke.
Here's what center Eric Staal had to say today about the hit:
"I think when a guy doesn't see you coming and you're in a vulnerable position, it's one of those plays where you should maybe just get out of the way instead of coming across. But things happen quick. You're coming across the ice, I understand that. But I think when a player doesn't see someone coming and you finish him, it's a difficult play."
Staal noted he also took a hit from Cooke, who caught him in somewhat of a vulnerable position, during the game but avoided an injury.
"I know even on the hit on me there, where I tried the one-timer, I had no idea where he was coming from and there was kind of a blind spot on me," Staal said. "But that's the way he plays. He plays in your face and gets under your skin. We'll have to make sure we're up and we're being physical on him, too."
The Canes also lost forward Tuomo Ruutu in the first period of the game. Ruutu was in front of the Pens net when he was hit from behind by defenseman Mark Eaton and injured his right ankle.
Neither Cooke nor Eaton were penalized.
Canes general manager Jim Rutherford's comment on the plays: "Both the hits on Erik and Tuomo, I thought, should have been two-minute penalties."