Walker's wife has cancer

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The wife of Carolina Hurricanes forward Scott Walker has cancer. The team says the cervical cancer is treatable and Julie Walker is expected to make a full recovery.

"It was a challenge the first couple days, but we're slowly getting back to normal," Walker said Saturday afternoon, when he addressed the situation with the media for the first time. "It was a little more detailed than they [doctors] first anticipated, so that was hard. Now it's getting to the point where we have talked to all the doctors and we'll move forward."

The team said the cancer was diagnosed during the Eastern Conference semifinal series against Boston. Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice learned of it May 9.

"We're a family," he said. "You deal with it as you would as a family. What do you need? What can we do to help?

"We move forward in whatever direction they are comfortable with. He didn't want to be a distraction. Scotty is making the people around him feel better."

Walker was vilified in Boston for punching Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward late in Game 5 of their series, drawing a $2,500 fine.

Walker ended up the Hurricanes' hero, scoring the winning goal in overtime of Game 7, his first career playoff goal.

"The last couple games, I don't even remember playing. I was just trying to do my job and play as hard as I could," he said.

The Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins open the Eastern Conference final Monday.

"Fortunately for me, [the dressing room] is a place where I get to go and get away from it. The other wives have been great. They took her out to dinner and kept her busy," Walker said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.