Eric Staal said he feels good, feels strong, feels he's competing as hard as he can for the Carolina Hurricanes.

No, the team's captain said Thursday, he has not been worn down by a multitude of minutes, by being asked to do so much. No, he said, he's not pressing, not letting the frustration of the Canes' recent offensive woes adversely affect his play.

Staal did slam his stick at the bench - once, twice, three times - during a 2-1 loss last week against the Washington Capitals. But that brief outburst, he said, was caused by his competitiveness, not mounting frustration.