Staal back on the ice for Canes after COVID-19 bout

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal told reporters Tuesday that his COVID-19 experience was basically 24 hours of chills and not much more. It was the time away from his family and the knowledge that he was the one who brought it into the Hurricanes locker room that pained him the most.

"There's never really one point I feel like sometimes to really know where you got it from, and none of my family got it, so it's just like everything's just kind of weird," Staal said.

NHL captains take their leadership roles very seriously, but being the first Hurricane to test positive for COVID-19 was definitely not what Staal had in mind.

"No one wants to be that guy and clearly that was me. I mean, for the most part, bringing it in the room and you know I was trying to be safe, you feel like a leper for a little while there," he said.

While five Hurricanes remain isolated, including stars Jaccob Slavin and Teuvo Teravainen, Staal was back on the ice for the team's first full practice since last Tuesday's shutdown.

Armstrong: Canes already dealing with coronavirus chaos

"You know, we all knew this was a possibility, or maybe a better way to put it is probability that something like this was going to happen and, unfortunately it got us right away." head coach Rod Brind'Amour said.

With practice on hold, the non-isolated players were largely left to their own devices at home to try to keep their cardio levels where they need to be. Sebastian Aho made do.

"I have a bike and a couple of dumbbells and stuff like that, some bands, so you can always find a way to get your work done," he said. "It's just a matter of will."

Thursday vs. Tampa figures to be the Canes' return to game action. Playing the defending champions is challenging enough - doing it after a 10-day break and down five regulars - well that's another thing entirely.

"We've got to deal with it. I mean that's just it, the excuse jar is full right now," said Brind'Amour, "Nobody cares, we've got to figure it out and that's the approach we have to have. We're going to have to rely on a lot of different people to step up for sure, but I think we're more than capable."

Brind'Amour and Aho both said Tuesday that they've been very diligent about calling the teammates that are still in isolation to check on their mental state and let them know that they can't wait to have them back and that they're still very much a part of the team.
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