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Carolina grants Staal leave of absence @NHL

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -Eric Staal is taking a leave of absence from the Carolina Hurricanes because of a death in his family.

The Hurricanes said Wednesday that they granted the All-Star forward a leave a day after his wife's sister died of cancer at age 26.

General manager Jim Rutherford says the team's thoughts and prayers are with Staal and his family.

Staal shares the team's scoring lead with Ray Whitney with 27 points, and has a team-best 19 assists.

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