The sequence was terrible to watch, and its consequences might be worse for Eric Staal and the Carolina Hurricanes.
Staal, playing for Canada at the world championships, was felled by a knee-on-knee hit from Sweden defenseman Alex Edler in a quarterfinal game Thursday in Stockholm.
Staal dropped to the ice, clutched his right knee in obvious pain and was taken immediately to the dressing room. He was scheduled to fly to Raleigh, N. C., later Friday and will undergo an MRI examination there today.
Depending on the severity of his injury -- there were upbeat, but unconfirmed, reports that Staal might not be injured as severely as he initially appeared to be -- it's conceivable that he wouldn't be ready for the start of next season.
Regardless, Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford told the Raleigh News & Observer he won't discourage his players from competing in international events in the future, and Penguins center Sidney Crosby was adamant Friday that Staal's injury won't deter him from representing Canada in tournaments outside the NHL.
"My thought [watching Edler's hit on Staal] was more, I felt terrible for him," Crosby said. "It looked like he was in a lot of pain, and you never like to see that. Period.
"I just hate to see that, but, unfortunately, that's the kind of thing that can happen. But I don't think that should make your decision waver, to go or not, based on the possibility of getting hurt. If you have a chance to represent your country and you don't have anything bothering you, if you look at it as a great opportunity you go, right?"
Crosby has played for his country in world championships, world junior championships and the Olympics. His overtime goal in 2010 earned a gold medal for Canada at the Games in Vancouver.
Edler, who plays for Vancouver in the NHL, has been suspended for the balance of the tournament because of the hit on Staal.
Bylsma praises MacLean
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, who won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's top coach in 2010-11, believes his Ottawa counterpart, Paul MacLean, would be a worthy recipient this year.
MacLean guided the Senators into the playoffs despite playing much of the season without key contributors like center Jason Spezza, defenseman Erik Karlsson and goalie Craig Anderson and joins Anaheim's Bruce Boudreau and Chicago's Joel Quenneville as Adams finalists.
"He deserves it," Bylsma said. "This year, they dealt with some injuries and still had a good hockey team with and without some of those key guys."
MacLean also was an Adams finalist a year ago, his first behind the Ottawa bench, but the stability and leadership he provided with all the adversity the Senators experienced this season were even more impressive.
"He has his ways and he doesn't let too much affect them," Ottawa defenseman Chris Phillips said.
"That rubs off on us. Being a young team, that's where it really paid off.
"Things like that didn't become distractions or excuses. That was probably one of his biggest strengths this year."
Gryba not in lineup
Senators defenseman Eric Gryba, who left Game 1 with an unspecified injury after a collision with Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, did not dress for Game 2.
He was replaced by Andre Benoit, a 29-year old who played in 33 regular-season games. Benoit dressed for one game in Ottawa's first-round series against Montreal and recorded one assist.
MacLean also used forward Guillaume Latendresse, who played in 27 regular-season games, after not using him in Game 1.
The Senators' biggest personnel move, however, might still be coming.
Spezza, the first-line center who has been out since undergoing back surgery in early February, is scheduled to skate today in Ottawa.
After that session, MacLean is expected to decide whether Spezza is a candidate to play Game 3 Sunday night.
"He's Jason Spezza," MacLean said. "If he's available, we're going to play him."
Dave Molinari: Dmolinari@post-gazette.com and Twitter @MolinariPG. Ray Fittipaldo: email@example.com and Twitter @rayfitt1. Shelly Anderson: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @pgshelly. First Published May 18, 2013 4:15 AM