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Eric Staal still dealing with questions about hit

by Dave Lozo
NEW YORK -- Eric Staal faced another round questions about the hit on brother Marc last season, one that eventually led to a concussion that has sidelined the Rangers top defenseman for the first six weeks of this season.

Parked at his locker in the visiting dressing room at Madison Square Garden on Friday morning, the Carolina Hurricanes captain once again answered questions after a story broke earlier in the day that said Marc was going to see a concussion specialist Dr. Robert Cantu in Boston next week.

"I don't know the medical terminology and everything and that's his deal with the doctors," said Eric, whose Hurricanes will face the red-hot Rangers, winners of five straight, on Friday night.

The brothers spent time together the past couple days with the Hurricanes in town to face the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday and no other games until Friday. Eric said he feels no guilt about the hit that didn't draw a penalty.

"No," Eric said when asked if the hit has weighed on his mind. "I've been talking with him the last couple days and all summer. There were a lot of steps that happened after that hit that probably put him in the position that he's in now. I don't think it's just that hit. It's not like I hit him and he's been done since that point. He played and came back. Now he's healing and on the right track to getting back."

Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice echoed that sentiment.

"It was a clean hit, and his brother came back and played," Maurice said. "To me, he's not the reason there's a concussion."

The hit took place during a game between the Hurricanes and Rangers on Feb. 22. Marc missed the next two games with a knee injury, but played in 15 of the Rangers' final 17 regular-season games and all five playoff games. Marc had setbacks during the summer with his workouts and was eventually shut down by the Rangers during training camp.

Eric said he's not sure if he should expect to face retribution from Marc's teammates Friday, but he'll just go out and play his game as he normally would.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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