The quick answer is yes. The past few weeks have been frustrating for Wild center Eric Staal.
The goals aren't coming, the points aren't piling up. There have been times when, physically, he hasn't felt his best. But there have been some good games, too.
Just not enough results.
"I feel I've played some games, some good games, where, earlier in the year you'd end the night with a couple points," Staal said. "And right now they're not coming."
But, for the veteran signed as a free agent during the offseason, there is no panic. He has been through this before and come out of it. And it will happen again.
Not without some exasperation, though. Feeling good Tuesday, Staal had a few good chances in the Wild's 1-0 loss to Anaheim. Like the rest of his teammates, however, he couldn't get a puck past Ducks goalie John Gibson, prompting a stare or two at the Xcel Energy Center rafters. After the game, Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said it was the first time this season he had seen Staal extending his shifts trying to get something.
"It might be bothering him a little bit," Boudreau said.
Well, yes it is.
"As long as we're getting the wins, and continuing to try to climb and get better as a group, that's the important thing," Staal said. "But, sure, yeah, you want to contribute offensively and score goals. That's the fun part of the game."
Through the first 41 games, Staal had 15 goals and 39 points, averaging nearly a point a game. In his past 15 games, Staal has one goal and four assists and is a minus-7.
"You have to keep playing," Staal said. "If I play consistently, like I did [Tuesday] night — the energy was there, legs were there, I was on the attack — I'll get back into the scoring department and the points department. I have to keep playing, just do what I can to be a contributor, be effective and not give up things the other way."
Staal said he hasn't always felt 100 percent of late.
"There have been games when, physically, I haven't felt great in the last month or so," he said. "But I did [Tuesday]. And, hopefully, we'll have more of that as we go on."
Now in his 13th NHL season, Staal said he has been through this before, and knows how to work his way out of it.
"I know where I'm at," he said. "I have a good gauge, I like to think, of how I'm playing and what I need to do. That said, I like advice."
Boudreau is there to give it, if asked.
"He's been through these things before," Boudreau said. "Good players find ways to dig themselves out. I mean, I'm there as a sounding board for him. I will talk to him and see how he's feeling about it. The one thing you know is that Eric is trying. He's doing his best. He's just sort of in a rough spot right now."
The key, Staal said, is just keep doing what he always does — work. "I'll push, work even harder, get to the net, get going again," he said. "If I do that consistently, the puck will go in the net. I would sure like to have it sooner, but you have to stay poised and disciplined in what you need to do every shift."
• Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, who has missed the past two games because of a knee injury, was ill and not at the rink Wednesday. Boudreau said it is likely, given his time off the ice, that Dumba won't return to game action until after the Wild's bye week, which runs from Feb. 22 to 26.