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Training Camp Outlook: 'Ironman' Returns

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins
Penguins center Jordan Staal enters the ’10-11 regular season riding a 302-consecutive regular-season games played streak.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that streak will hit 303 games.

Staal is expected to miss all of training camp and the beginning of the regular season after having a follow-up surgery to cure an infection that developed following a surgery to further repair a lacerated tendon in his foot. The original procedure was done following Game 2 of the Penguins’ semifinals series with the Montreal Canadiens.

“I imagine it has been pretty frustrating for him,” Alex Goligoski said. “We obviously don’t want to lose him at all for any time. I’m sure he’ll be working hard to get through it and we’ll welcome him back.”

Both Staal and Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma have said they won’t rush Staal back into action if his foot isn’t properly healed. While it would be great to have him ready to go when the season begins, the most important thing is to get the three-time 20-goal scorer back to full health.

“He is a big piece of the puzzle,” Pascal Dupuis said. “We need him and we want him back. We know it is one of those things where he has to take his time and wait for his foot to be 100-percent healed.”

If that means October, then that’s a best-case scenario. If it means late October or November, that’s no sweat for the Penguins. They have more than enough firepower and grit to make up for Staal’s absence. Then, the team will be that much stronger and will probably get a boost when he does return.

During Staal’s absence, look for Maxime Talbot, Craig Adams, Dustin Jeffrey and Mark Letestu to compete to replace his shutdown minutes.

“Obviously injuries are tough for teams, but this is a chance for someone else to step in and make a name for himself,” Chris Kunitz said. “It sets you back, but you have to overcome different things throughout the year. I think it is one of those things where have to wait for someone else to step up and fill that role.”

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