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Tweetmail No. 125: Staal Out, Customs & Postgame Food

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

BOSTON - Hello and welcome to a weekly feature on in which I take your Twitter questions about the Carolina Hurricanes or other assorted topics and answer them in mailbag form. Hopefully the final product is insightful to some degree, and maybe we have some fun along the way.

Let's get to it.

Tweet from @MitchellGiamou: @MSmithCanes with Jordan Staal injured, who can you see stepping up to fill his void #Tweetmail

During Sunday's game against Florida, Jordan Staal left and was diagnosed with a concussion, which will sideline the Canes' top center for an indefinite amount of time. I think Jeff Skinner said it best after the game: "That's a tough loss. You look at that, and people have to step up. Not one person is going to fill that void."

And that's the truth. In terms of replacing his position, Teuvo Teravainen has slotted into the middle for the time being, a move that head coach Bill Peters likes long-term.

"I think for us he's going to be a center at some point," Peters said prior to Tuesday's game in New York. "He's a real smart player, a very creative player. He's got another gear. You don't always see it, but he's got high-end speed. He's evasive. He's very good defensively, and that's what allows him to play center and have the coach's trust, so I can play him against anybody. … He's a playmaking center. We're excited about seeing him there for the foreseeable future."

But it's going to be more of a team effort to soak up the responsibility and ice time that Staal logs on a nightly basis. Staal plays in all situations, so in his absence, Sebastian Aho is going to get another look on the power play and Phil Di Giuseppe might be used on the penalty kill.

There are also intangibles that can't be replaced. Staal is, as Ron Hainsey said on Tuesday, the Canes' best two-way forward, "bar none." He's also a horse, a big man down low who can use his large frame to shield and possess the puck. That's going to be tough to replicate in any form or fashion and is going to take a concerted team effort in all three zones.

But the Canes have been through this before, right? When Staal broke his leg in a preseason game in Buffalo in 2014, Victor Rask stepped up to assume a larger role as just a rookie in the league. He's now emerged as one of the more underrated centers in the entire NHL. Could we see the same from someone like Teravainen or Elias Lindholm in the interim?

Tweet from @J_Money2917: @MSmithCanes Tripp mentioned how difficult customs are to clear. How much of an ordeal is it for the team, staff, and all of you involved?

It really isn't much of an ordeal at all, outside of the fact that it's simply an added couple of steps to what the team usually does when it flies from city to city. It's your standard airport security proceeding with the brief stop by customs added onto it. The speed in which you progress through these lines of course depends on the city and time of day. Usually it's somewhat of a breeze through these lines in the after-hours of the night. Though, I can't imagine what it would be like for a Canadian team that has to go through this process on nearly every single road trip taken.

Most recently, the Canes went through customs in Ottawa coming back from their three-game Canadian road swing. The difficulty of that night was compounded by the fact that the Senators were also going through customs en route to New York, where they would play the next night. The Hurricanes actually beat the Senators to the airport and were able to proceed through the security checkpoint and customs prior to Ottawa, which helped expedite the process. We actually made great time and arrived back in Raleigh at the same time the Florida Panthers were landing after playing that night in Sunrise, so kudos to all involved in the process for making it as smooth and as efficient as it was.

Tweet from @goCanes_score: @MSmithCanes #Tweetmail Doesn't pizza seem an unlikely recovery food for players after games? Don't they tire of it, or there's other food?

Pizza is typically the go-to postgame food. Cheese and pepperoni seem to be the most common pies, but there are variations. I've seen buffalo chicken and Hawaiian (and yes, pineapple belongs on pizza, don't @ me) variants at PNC Arena, all made in-house. There are also certain types of pizza found in certain cities, such as Little Caesars in Detroit.

Aside from pizza, there are some local staples in certain cities. For instance, cheesesteaks in Philadelphia, hot dogs in Montreal and BBQ in Raleigh.


Join me next week for more questions and more answers!

If you have a question you'd like answered or you'd like to support my candidacy for President of the United States in 2024, which is based upon the promise to shoot free t-shirts off the roof of the White House each weekend, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes or drop an email here.

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