PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jordan Staal, expected to return this week after missing 12 games with an infection in his right foot, needs surgery to repair a broken right hand and will be out for up to six weeks.
Staal, who planned to make his season debut Wednesday at Dallas, was practising on the No. 2 line with Tyler Kennedy and Mike Comrie on Monday when he grimaced in pain after being struck by a puck. He was favouring his right hand as he left the ice, his teammates tapping their sticks on the ice in hockey's traditional show of respect.
Staal, obviously upset at being hurt again so close to his planned return, slammed a door in disgust as he walked toward the dressing room at the team's practice rink.
Staal, one of the NHL's best two-way forwards, could not work out during the off-season and missed training camp after developing multiple infections in a foot that was cut during the Stanley Cup playoffs last spring. He resumed skating Oct. 11, but coach Dan Bylsma said he needed considerable ice time and conditioning work to get back into game shape.
"It's disappointing on a couple of levels," Bylsma said of the latest injury. "But mostly it's personal for Jordan, because he's had a difficult off-season and training camp. And then to get to the point where you're looking to coming back to play, having to deal with another injury is disappointing."
Staal needed at least two operations and three other procedures to get rid of the recurring infection in his foot, which developed after Montreal defenceman P.K. Subban's skate blade cut through Staal's skate and sliced a tendon on April 30. Staal missed two games during that second-round series, but returned to play the final four games.
Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin, who sat out a 3-0 victory at Carolina on Saturday, also didn't practice Monday. His status for a three-game road trip to Dallas, Phoenix and Anaheim is uncertain. Defenceman Kris Letang also is listed as day to day after leaving the Carolina game with an undisclosed injury.
Under the NHL's injury policy, teams are not required to fully disclose the nature of injuries.