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Carolina Hurricanes forward Eric Staal leaves team after sister-in-law's death

RALEIGH, N.C. - The Carolina Hurricanes have granted Eric Staal a leave of absence following the death of his sister-in-law.

The Hurricanes say his wife Tanya's sister, Tamara Stephenson, passed away in Thunder Bay, Ont., after a long battle with cancer on Tuesday. She was 26.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Tanya and Eric during this difficult time for their family," GM Jim Rutherford said in a statement.

It's unclear when Staal will return to the team. The Hurricanes visit Nashville on Thursday before hosting Colorado on Friday.

Staal was named to Team Canada last week. He has eight goals and 27 points in 31 games this season.

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