The Carolina Hurricanes were officially eliminated from playoff contention Tuesday night when they fell to the New York Rangers 4-1.
To this point, I have refrained from judging the leadership of captain Eric Staal for many reasons. It is totally not my place. I am not in the locker room with Eric Staal every day like his teammates are. Ultimately, the only people that really know how good of a leader he is are his teammates and coaches. That being said, he looks like he has given up on the season.
In 76 games, Eric Staal has 58 points (19 goals, 39 assists) and is a -14. Those numbers aren’t acceptable from a player getting paid well over $8 million per season. Eric Staal is supposed to be a leader on the ice, and he just hasn’t led by example over the past month.
Eric Staal is in a very tough situation, but being a captain makes you responsible for leading your team on and off the ice, even through the tough times. Unfortunately for Eric, the “tough times” have been very frequent over the past half-decade.
It isn’t even about the numbers for Eric Staal. While his point production is way too low, it is worse that he just looks disinterested in the game that he is playing.
Eric Staal is a competitor. He thrives off of big games, but he has rarely put himself and his team in “big game”situations. This team has not made the playoffs since the 2008-2009 season, and that is just completely unacceptable.
This is not, by any means, all Eric Staal’s fault, but it looks like he has given up on this season based off his play lately. Until I’m proven wrong, if I am, I’m convinced that Eric Staal has officially checked out.
Am I wrong? Do you think that Eric Staal has checked out? Tell us in the poll below and in the comments!