Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal was injured while playing for Team Canada on Thursday at the World Championships, leaving the ice in severe pain.

Late in the first period against Sweden in a quarterfinal game, Staal -- Canada's captain, too -- was playing the puck in the offensive zone on his backhand when he came across Swedish defenseman Alex Edler (of the Vancouver Canucks). The resulting hit was a knee-on-knee collision, and Staal was immediately on the ice clutching his knee, writhing in pain.

Edler was given a five-minute major for kneeing and a game misconduct. If Sweden plays another game, Edler might not be with them. A suspension from the IIHF could be coming his way. If this were the NHL, Edler would be looking at a hearing from Brendan Shanahan at the least. You just can't stick the knee out like that. It's such a dangerous play, and that illustrates exactly why.

This is the exact fear of every NHL GM when it comes to international competition, whether it be the World Championships or the Olympics. From just the looks of it, that was a very serious injury for Staal. While it's too early to tell, it wouldn't be a surprise at all if he missed some of next season for Carolina.

It really makes you wonder what exactly the point is of competing in the Worlds every year from an NHL-player perspective. It's great to play for your country, and I love international competitions as much as anybody, but the risks are so much greater than the rewards when you have a big contract back in the NHL.