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Eric Staal of Wild feeling better after concussion

Center says he's 'fortunate' days after being helped off ice during Game 5 of Western Conference First Round

by Jessi Pierce / Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal is recovering from a concussion sustained in Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.

"I've gotten progressively better every day since," Staal said Tuesday. "I'm not cleared yet, but I feel pretty good. I've done a lot of sleeping, but I felt better every day, clearer every day, so I feel good."

Staal, 32, was injured in the second period when he tripped on the skate of Blues goalie Jake Allen following contact with defenseman Carl Gunnarsson while skating toward the net. Staal was knocked off balance and slid headfirst into the boards. He was down for several minutes before being helped to the locker room and was taken to the hospital.

Video: STL@MIN, Gm5: Staal leaves game after scary collision

"I couldn't really protect against anything else," Staal said. "And then when you're in there, it happens really fast and then you get everybody on the ice asking you a lot of questions and you're just trying to process everything that's going on and you're just trying to answer the questions honestly of what I was feeling at that moment.

"I think I scared my wife a little bit. She came down right after and [I] basically said, 'Sorry,' because it's no fun to watch. She's watched a lot of hockey over time, and I'm sure when you see your husband in that state, it can shake you up a little bit. But she was with me right from there all the way through the process of what we had to do at the hospital and everything, so we're really fortunate."

The Wild lost 4-3 in overtime and were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Staal had one assist in the series and 65 points (28 goals, 37 assists) in 82 games during his first season with the Wild.


[RELATED: 5 Reasons Wild were eliminated]


"I'm still real disappointed," Staal said. "For me personally, I wish … I would have liked to have been better throughout the series. We needed some offense, we needed some goals. I was a key guy this year in doing that, and I wasn't able to … I felt like I created some looks, created chances throughout the series, but for whatever reason they didn't hit the back of the net as they had been previously. So I was disappointed in a lot of different ways as to how it all finished."

Wild forward Mikael Granlund played the series with a broken hand sustained blocking a shot during Game 1. General manager Chuck Fletcher said recovery time is expected to be 4-6 weeks.

"It's going to heal on its own," Granlund said. "It's that time of the year where I just thought I'd play through it. I could play with that. I had no problems with that, just a little sore. Everybody has something going on. It's just a part of playing. I don't want to make any excuses about that."

Granlund, 25, had two assists and led Wild forwards with an average ice time per game of 20:32 despite the injury. He had an NHL career-high 69 points (26 goals, 43 assists) during the regular season and can become a restricted free agent July 1.

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