Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal is being evaluated for an apparent knee injury suffered Thursday in the IIHF World Championships in Stockholm, Sweden.
Staal, who also is serving as Canada's team captain, took a knee-on-knee hit from Alex Edler of Sweden with 4:14 left in the first period. He fell to the ice in pain, clutching his right knee.
Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said Hockey Canada officials called him immediately after Staal left the ice for treatment. Rutherford dd not know the seriousness of the injury, saying Staal was to have an MRI exam administered by NHL doctors in Stockholm.
"It's unfortunate and hopefully it's not too serious," Rutherford said. "If it is serious, hopefully there will be enough recovery time for him to be ready for next season. We'll just hope for the best."
Rutherford said he was not watching the Canada-Sweden game and had not seen a replay, but was told the injury was "not a good one."
After being attended to by a Team Canada trainer, Staal was helped off the ice and to the locker room, unable to put any weight on his right leg.
Staal took a shot, collected the rebound and was attempting to backhand a shot from the left circle when hit by Edler, who was given a five-minute kneeing major and ejected from the quarterfinal-round game.
Cam Ward, the Canes' No. 1 goalie, was lost to a third-degree knee sprain March 3 that sidelined him the rest of the season. Defenseman Justin Faulk, who is playing for Team USA in the Worlds, missed nine games this season with a knee sprain.
New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, the brother of the Canes' Eric and Jordan Staal, suffered an eye injury during the season after being hit by a puck.
Jordan Staal also is competing for Team Canada at the Worlds. The Staals were invited after the Canes failed to reach the playoffs, and both hope to be considered for the Canadian Olympic team for next year's Winter Games.
Eric Staal was a member of Canada's gold-medal winning team in 2010 at Vancouver.
Rutherford said Eric Staal's injury would not change his approach to having his players compete internationally.
"They play for their countries," he said. "Every kid grows up wanting to play for their country and nothing is going to change. Any time you can play for your country, you should."