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Staal, McBain ready to play against Bolts

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Eric Staal is ready to go to Tampa. Jamie McBain is ready to go to Tampa.

Joe Corvo, sporting a new mohawk look, is ready to go.

Staal missed practice again today. But Canes coach Paul Maurice said Staal told him he felt "fantastic" when he arrived at the RBC Center this morning.

Maurice said Staal, who left Tuesday's game against the Ottawa Sentators with a lower-body injury, probably would play fewer minutes in the back-to-back against the Lightning and likely would not be used on a penalty-kill unit.

"There's some places during the game where he doesn't need to go out," Maurice said. "But he said he felt fantastic and ready to go and when we started talking about modification of his minutes he said, 'Well, let's see how I feel tomorrow. If I feel good I want to go.' So that's a good sign.

"But the most obvious may be penalty kill that we look at cutting back. We added that to him this year when our penalty kill was really struggling early this year."

McBain has been sidelined with a shoulder injury but Maurice said the defenseman should return in one of the two games in the back-to-back against the Lightning. A decision will be made at tomorrow's morning skate, Maurice said.

"He's not going to play back-to-back," Maurice said. "Every day he gets a little stronger, a little better. He's close."


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At this point in the season,

At this point in the season, virtually every player on every team has got some kind of injury. Many of them can play through it, but some of them are less productive on the ice. Unless a player misses a game or a practice, you don't hear much about the injuries. 

This is one reason why it's so impressive when a team wins the Cup in consecutive years. It takes time for the injuries to heal before conditioning and practice start again.

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About the blogger

A Raleigh native, Chip has worked at the N&O since 1979 and is the Canes beat writer. He can be reached at You can follow him on Twitter at @ice_chip.