In a story April 3 about NHL player Eric Staal Brent Burns Jersey , The Associated Press misidentified the location of his Canadian hometown. Thunder Bay is located in Ontario.
A corrected version of the story is below:
With 40 goals for playoffs-bound Wild, Staal has right fit
With 40 goals for playoffs-bound Wild, Staal has found right place for career resurgence
By DAVE CAMPBELL
AP Sports Writer
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Eric Staal was coming off his least productive NHL season since he was a teenage rookie with Carolina when Minnesota took a flier on him two summers ago to add some depth at center.
The three-year contract was modest for a player with Staal’s ability and accomplishments. The expectations were, too. Three consecutive seasons of decline in points per game, after all, don’t provide a hint that the scoring touch or passing knack is primed for resurgence.
Bruce Boudreau could see the rebound potential, though. His first day of training camp with the Wild happened to be Staal’s practice debut with his new club, and a strong impression was made on the new head coach.
”I said, `You know what? Everybody was wrong,”’ Boudreau said. ”Because he did the skate test on the very first day, and he blew everybody out of the water. So I said to the staff, `He should be able to play for us.”’
Staal has done much more for the Wild than simply prove he can keep up and stabilize a key position with some savviness and leadership. Nobody on the team has scored more since he arrived, and with 40 goals this season he’s tied for sixth in the league through Monday’s games.
”I never thought a specific number was a goal. I don’t ever usually think like that,” Staal said. ”Once you start a season, it can go a lot of different ways, but once the puck starts hitting the back of the net and you’re gaining confidence that way, you want to hold on to it as long as you can and accumulate as much as you can to help your team win.”
Staal became just the second player in NHL history, joining Gordie Howe, to record a 40-goal season at least nine years apart with none in between. Slumps can factor into that Filip Forsberg Jersey , but so does dedication.
”Look, he’s won a Stanley Cup. He’s won an Olympic medal. He’s got all the money that he’s ever going to need,” Boudreau said. ”But when he came here he wanted to prove to the world that he’s still a really good player, and to me he has.”
The lanky 33-year-old with the left-handed shot has been a big reason why the Wild, despite some rough patches of the schedule and significant injury absences by several of their best skaters, have clinched a spot in the playoffs for the sixth straight season.
”You want that, especially as a player who’s in the second half of his career. You want to make sure you’re in a spot to try to win again, and coming here I felt gave me that chance,” said Staal, the second overall pick in the 2003 draft who won the Stanley Cup in 2006 at age 21 but only returned to the playoffs once more with the Hurricanes. ”We’ve still got some work to do here, but hopefully we can finish strong.”
Staal only has one goal-less stretch on his ledger longer than four games in a row, when he played six consecutive contests without scoring from Jan. 9-22. He still contributed four assists over that span. Not coincidentally, the Wild have only one losing streak larger than two. They dropped three in a row from Nov. 4-8.
”He’s a guy we’ve definitely looked to to help lead us,” said left wing Jason Zucker, one of the many linemates Staal has saddled up to this season – without, Boudreau said beamingly, a single complaint.
Durability has been one crucial component of his value, of course. Staal has yet to miss a game since signing the $10.5 million deal on July 1, 2016. The emotional steadiness he has contributed can’t be overlooked, either.
”He’s been through the best of teams. He’s been through the worst of teams. He’s been the leader on all of these teams John Klingberg Jersey ,” Boudreau said. ”He’s had to make sure he’s the steady one, because if he gets too high, maybe the rest of the group gets too high. If he was one to get too low, maybe everybody else would follow his lead.”
The Wild actually left Staal exposed in the expansion draft, banking on his age being less attractive to the Vegas Golden Knights. His salary cap hit is only the ninth-highest on the roster.
”If he was playing in Toronto, he’d be up for the MVP,” Boudreau said.
Settling in Minnesota was more than satisfying for Staal, with the perennial postseason opportunities and the relative proximity to his hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario, about a six-hour drive away. He and his wife, Tanya, have been able to raise sons Parker, Levi and Finley, in a similar northern culture and climate that he was raised in, delighting in seeing the boys at 8, 6 and 3 years old take to the local hockey rinks or eagerly hop on their sleds after the latest snowfall.
”All that stuff I grew up doing and loving, and now I’m kind of living it back through them,” Staal said. ”It’s definitely made it a ton of fun.”
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Baltimore Ravens rookie Lamar Jackson gave his friends and family plenty to cheer about Saturday, even if he didn’t give them tickets.
The South Florida native led touchdown possessions of 84 http://www.officialcoyotes.com/authentic-adidas-clayton-keller-jersey , 62 and 73 yards against mostly deep reserves as Baltimore rallied past the Miami Dolphins 27-10.
“This isn’t college where I get free tickets,” Jackson said, “so everyone who came here tonight paid for their own tickets. My mom watched from home on TV.”
Jackson entered the game at the start of the second half and had his best performance yet for the Ravens. He went 7 for 10 for 98 yards and a touchdown, and ran for 39 yards on three carries, including a 19-yard scoring run.
“My decision-making is getting better,” Jackson said. “I’m working my way up. I feel like I’m doing pretty good, but there’s still room for improvement.”
Coach John Harbaugh was encouraged to see signs of progress from Jackson.
“Today was kind of his breaking-out in the game,” Harbaugh said. “We’ve seen it in practice where he’s done some really good things. We hadn’t really seen it in the game yet. He handled himself well.”
Kenyan Drake sparked one scoring drive with a 30-yard run and another with a 36-yard reception for the Dolphins, whose starters reached the end zone for the first time this preseason.
Ryan Tannehill fumbled twice early, and the Dolphins drew boos from the small crowd when they went three-and-out on the first series. But the offense began to click in the second quarter against a mix of Ravens starters and reserves, and Tannehill finished 11 of 16 for 115 yards.
Danny Amendola made a nifty cutback to juke past two defensive backs and score on a 16-yard pass from Tannehill. It was the first touchdown by Miami’s starters during the preseason in 10 possessions.
On the next series, Tannehill hit Drake deep for a big gain to set up a field goal, and the Dolphins led 10-3 at halftime before both teams emptied their benches.
Tannehill said the offense is on track for the start of the season.
“It was good to finally get the ball in the end zone,” he said. “We’re heading in the right direction.”
While starters for Miami saw their most extensive action this month, among those not playing for the Ravens were quarterback Joe Flacco, their top three wide receivers, three offensive linemen, safety Eric Weddle, and linebackers Terrell Suggs and C.J. Mosley.
Robert Griffin III, battling to make the Ravens’ roster Luke Glendening Jersey , played the first half. He went 9 for 15 for 66 yards and carried five times for 41 yards while playing with a mix of starters and reserves.
Brock Osweiler and David Fales, battling for the Dolphins’ backup QB job, both struggled and threw an interception.
“There’s room for improvement for sure,” coach Adam Gase said. “But it’s hard to put it all on them when you get the ball and you’re not expecting it, or we’re not blocking guys. That’s why it’s hard to evaluate quarterbacks at times in preseason games.”
OUT OF POSITION
Miami linebacker Kiko Alonso made a third-down tackle, flipped over, became disoriented and went to the wrong bench. When Harbaugh gestured him to the other sideline , Alonso trotted across the field and reached the Dolphins bench wearing a sheepish grin. He said he was unhurt.
The Ravens’ Justin Tucker was wide left on a 51-yard field goal try and had another 51-yarder blocked. The most accurate kicker in NFL history is 0 for 4 beyond 50 yards during the exhibition season.
The Ravens dedicated the win to the family of receivers coach Bobby Engram following the death Saturday of his 20-year-old daughter, Bobbi.
Robert Quinn and Dolphins WRs Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson again protested social injustice during the anthem. Quinn raised his right fist, and Stills and Wilson kneeled in front of their bench.
Ravens: TE Hayden Hurst, the team’s top draft pick, will undergo surgery for a stress fracture in his foot, and he’s expected to be sidelined three to four weeks. He missed the game. … Starting DT Willie Henry had hernia surgery and will be sidelined several weeks. … Rookie S DeShon Elliott broke his left forearm, and the injury could be season-ending. … Rookie OL Greg Senat left the game with a foot injury.
Dolphins: WR Jakeem Grant suffered a concussion on a helmet-to-helmet hit from Chuck Clark, who drew a penalty.
Ravens: Baltimore plays its final exhibition game Thursday at home against Washington.
Dolphins: Miami plays its exhibition finale Thursday at Atlanta.
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