The Carolina Hurricanes and their captain, Eric Staal, have caught a huge break, all things considered.
Staal, who left the IIHF World Championships while playing for Canada on Thursday after taking a brutal knee-on-knee hit from Canucks' defenseman Alex Edler of Sweden, has suffered a third-degree MCL sprain. It will take him three to four months to rehab, but it will not require surgery. Most importantly, Staal -- indisputably the best player on the Hurricanes -- is expected to be ready for the start of the 2013-14 season in October.
The hit, which you can watch below, had many in the hockey world and certainly in Carolina fearing the worst. Edler was suspended for the remainder of the tournament as punishment for the knee-on-knee collision.
Staal will be on target to return to the Hurricanes by the time training camp roles around in September. He's coming off another excellent season, finishing sixth in the NHL in both assists (35) and points (53). Before the shortened 2012-13 season, he hadn't had a season with fewer than 70 points since his rookie campaign in 2003-04.