Hurricanes star forward Eric Staal was the victim of several inexplicable cheap shots during a preseason game against SKA St. Petersburg in Russia on Oct. 4. Staal, who left after the first 30 minutes, said his knees had been targeted twice by SKA players. Many NHL executives oppose such exhibition matches with the KHL, which they feel doesn't respect NHL contracts. This incident will increase friction between the leagues. . . . The NHL keeps getting younger. Of the 33 junior-age players on opening-night rosters, several made boffo debuts, including a pair of 20-year-olds: The Oilers' Jordan Eberle scored a beautiful goal, toe-dragging the puck past a diving defender and lifting a backhander into the net, in a 4--0 win over the Flames, and the Rangers' Derek Stepan had a hat trick in a 6--3 win over the Sabres.