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Thread: Staal talented, tough, lucky kid

      
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    Default Staal talented, tough, lucky kid

    Friday, January 29, 2010
    By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Penguins center Jordan Staal was in no mood to celebrate an impressive career milestone. Not on a night when his team gave a lifeless effort in a 4-1 home loss to the Ottawa Senators. Not after he went a fifth consecutive game without a point and an 11th consecutive game without a goal.

    But that milestone is worth celebrating, nonetheless.

    Staal became the youngest player in NHL history to play his 300th game.

    It seems as if the kid has been around forever, but he was just 21 years and 140 days old as of Thursday night when they dropped the puck at Mellon Arena.

    Wow.

    That's my word, not Staal's. His reaction was typically understated after the game. He barely blinked when an equipment staffer gave him a game puck as a souvenir with the date and opponent written on it in white ink.

    "I'm glad they left off the score," Staal said dryly.

    Sure, it would have been sweeter if the Penguins had won. But they were outworked all night by the Senators, who easily could be their first-round playoff opponent. It's nice to think the Penguins will play with a little more passion if the teams meet again in April. They couldn't solve Senators goaltender Brian Elliott after an Evgeni Malkin goal just 94 seconds into the game. And their goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury, had a tough night, allowing a couple of soft goals.

    Still, 300 games are 300 games.

    And to be just 21?

    It's worth repeating:

    Wow.

    "I'm proud of it," Staal said quietly. "I want to play in a lot more."

    You have to be phenomenally talented, tough as they come and awfully lucky to get to 300 games so quickly. Staal is all three.

    The talent showed from the start when Staal made the Penguins to open the 2006-07 season, only a few weeks past his 18th birthday. He blew away his coaches and teammates with his instincts and knowledge of the game. He scored 29 goals that rookie season, but that's not what separated him from so many other players in the league. He was so good and so sound defensively and as a penalty killer. He was responsible, which is a wonderful word to describe a young player.

    Still is.

    "He's a player who has continued to grow," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said, perking up just a bit at the mention of Staal's name after this lame performance by his team. "He's skating better than ever. He's playing more physical than ever ...

    "To have 300 games under his belt already? There's a long road ahead for that kid. A lot of good hockey."

    So much, the Penguins believe, that they gave Staal a four-year, $16 million contract a year ago. Somehow appropriately, he wasn't old enough to buy a beer to celebrate when he signed it.

    Now that blows me away.

    Staal's toughness has been just as evident as his skills. He has missed just one game -- one out of 350, counting playoff games -- during his career. He was a healthy scratch in December of his rookie season, which puts his regular-season consecutive games streak at 275.

    That's a big number that sports' ultimate ironman -- Cal Ripken Jr. -- surely can appreciate.

    It's not as if Staal didn't have opportunities to take a night off. Early this season -- "I don't remember the game," he said -- he left the ice briefly after a skate ripped open a gash on his right thigh that required 40 stitches to close. Of course, he returned to the game. He did the same thing after his nose was broken when the Penguins played New Jersey Dec. 21.

    "If you can play, you play," Staal said, shrugging.

    Luck comes into it because Staal has not had a more serious injury. He has not broken anything that kept him from pulling on his No. 11 sweater. There have been a few times he felt sicker than a dog, but he played.

    Staal has been lucky in another sense as well. He joined an organization on the rise. In his first three seasons in the NHL, the Penguins made the playoffs the first year, went to the Stanley Cup final the second and won the darn thing the third. He still wasn't old enough to buy a legal drink when they etched his name on the precious chalice. He didn't turn 21 until Sept. 10.

    "I've been really fortunate," Staal said. "Someone definitely is watching me up there."

    Many nights, better than this one, figure to be ahead for Staal. He was a rare minus-2 against the Senators but still leads the Penguins for the season with a plus-12. The goal-scoring slump appears to be wearing on him just a bit, but that will pass. His 13 goals are fourth on the Penguins behind Sidney Crosby, Malkin and Bill Guerin.

    Clearly, the kid is too talented, too tough and too lucky for the slump to last much longer.

    Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10029...#ixzz0e0hAeytU
    I wholeheartedly agree!

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    Default Re: Staal talented, tough, lucky kid

    Cut him
    The only player in the NHL more overpaid than MAF is Jordan Staal

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    Default Re: Staal talented, tough, lucky kid

    Get him a shorter stick!

    .... and some stones! Playing every game does not make him tough!
    Last edited by (419)BlackNGold; Jan-29-2010 at 11:19 AM.

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    Default Re: Staal talented, tough, lucky kid

    Quote Originally Posted by BGK View Post
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    Cut him
    ...and bring back Zigomanis?

    I might be willing to part with Staal if it meant being able to keep Gonchar. ...and/or sign a shutdown defenceman like Volchenkov or a guy like Alexander Frolov or Alexei Ponikarovsky for Geno's line.

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    Default Re: Staal talented, tough, lucky kid

    Quote Originally Posted by (419)BlackNGold View Post
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    ...and bring back Zigomanis?

    I might be willing to part with Staal if it meant being able to keep Gonchar. ...and/or sign a shutdown defenceman like Volchenkov or a guy like Alexander Frolov or Alexei Ponikarovsky for Geno's line.

    People need to realize that Most of what I say is intended to be a joke...
    The only player in the NHL more overpaid than MAF is Jordan Staal

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    Default Re: Staal talented, tough, lucky kid

    Quote Originally Posted by (419)BlackNGold View Post
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    Get him a shorter stick!

    .... [HIGH-LIGHT]and some stones! Playing every game does not make him tough![/HIGH-LIGHT]




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    Default Re: Staal talented, tough, lucky kid

    Quote Originally Posted by jmd View Post
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    Wow... Staal played a couple of games with a few stitches, a broken nose and a fish bowl on his head!!! BFD.....Dupuis is playing with 30 some stitches in his face! That's part of the game... everyone does it.

    For as big as Staal is... he's pretty **** soft. But he's young so.....

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    Default Re: Staal talented, tough, lucky kid

    Staal is, day in and day out, one of the best players on the ice. I still can't believe some of you don't believe in this kid. He's a money player on both sides of the ice. He is this generation's Ron Francis, and won't get the widespread acclaim he deserves until his career is almost over.

    One doesn't reach this kind of milestone without being good. Every other team in the league would dearly love to have him.

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    Default Re: Staal talented, tough, lucky kid

    Quote Originally Posted by ihateusernames View Post
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    Staal is, day in and day out, one of the best players on the ice. I still can't believe some of you don't believe in this kid. He's a money player on both sides of the ice. [HIGH-LIGHT]He is this generation's Ron Francis,[/HIGH-LIGHT] and won't get the widespread acclaim he deserves until his career is almost over.

    One doesn't reach this kind of milestone without being good. Every other team in the league would dearly love to have him.



    Wooooooooooooooow, slow down, Ron Francis is the 4th leading scorer in NHL history. Jordan Staal is barely the 4th leading scorer on his own team. if not for Gonchars injuries, Staal would be 5th on his own team in scoring. He is FAR from being this generations Ron Francis. I didnt even bother seeing what he was ranked in the league, because I don't know if they count that high.

    I rag on Jordan Staal more than most, and with good reason. I realize he has potential, and I realize other teams would love to have him. Other teams would love to have Matt Cooke too, that doesn't make him this generations Mark Messier.

    Jordan Staal gets what he deserves IMHO, he is one of the biggest guys on the ice and he plays like he is carrying his balls in his purse. He's a great 3rd line center...other than that, he has a lot to prove. I guess he does have that over Ron Francis...No one ever called Ron Francis a great 3rd line center.
    The only player in the NHL more overpaid than MAF is Jordan Staal

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    Default Re: Staal talented, tough, lucky kid

    Quote Originally Posted by ihateusernames View Post
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    He is this generation's Ron Francis, and won't get the widespread acclaim he deserves until his career is almost over.
    Well, let's put him in the hall right now.

    When he starts scoring like Ron Frances, plays with Francis' grit, wins a few trophies, and has an overall career like Ron Francis, then he'll be this generation's Ron Francis.

    Until then, he's just a good third line centre.

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    Default Re: Staal talented, tough, lucky kid

    He is the most responsible two-way hockey player on the team, which draws my comparison to Francis. He isn't the most gifted offensively, but neither is he in a great position to score based on his placement on the depth chart. There is only one Francis, but Staal is cut from the same cloth...good, responsible two-way hockey. Francis earned his points the hard way, they didn't come from merely being more talented than others. Staal gets his the same way. I believe he'll put up points when he's in a position to do so. He can't be faulted for playing second fiddle offensively to the likes of Crosby and Malkin. Who could? He plays within his defined role of the team.

    He uses his size to his advantage. He lays on the wood when it's warranted; he doesn't needlessly take himself out of position. He does what he needs to do then is back where he's supposed to be. That is the epitome of responsible hockey, just like Francis played it.

    Here's Francis' career stats: http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...y.php?pid=1767 . He wasn't overwhelmingly offensive. His key lied in his durability and length of career. His length of career is derived from his responsible two-way play. He wasn't a one-trick pony.
    Last edited by ihateusernames; Jan-29-2010 at 11:42 PM.

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    Default Re: Staal talented, tough, lucky kid

    Quote Originally Posted by ihateusernames View Post
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    He is the most responsible two-way hockey player on the team, which draws my comparison to Francis. He isn't the most gifted offensively, but neither is he in a great position to score based on his placement on the depth chart. There is only one Francis, but Staal is cut from the same cloth...good, responsible two-way hockey. Francis earned his points the hard way, they didn't come from merely being more talented than others. Staal gets his the same way. I believe he'll put up points when he's in a position to do so. He can't be faulted for playing second fiddle offensively to the likes of Crosby and Malkin. Who could? He plays within his defined role of the team.

    He uses his size to his advantage. He lays on the wood when it's warranted; he doesn't needlessly take himself out of position. He does what he needs to do then is back where he's supposed to be. That is the epitome of responsible hockey, just like Francis played it.


    I had some complaints about him up until this season, and he seems to have corrected everything I did ***** about. Now, everyone want's him to put up Francis numbers?? Not gonna happen. Different league, he's on the 3d ****ing line for christ's sake!!! Other than a few times this year I have nothing to complain about. Do you people watch the same games? Or do you just like to ***** and moan to read your own typing?
    Last edited by jmd; Jan-29-2010 at 11:48 PM.

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    Default Re: Staal talented, tough, lucky kid

    Quote Originally Posted by jmd View Post
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    I had some complaints about him up until this season, and he seems to have corrected everything I did ***** about. [HIGH-LIGHT]Now, everyone want's him to put up Francis numbers?? [/HIGH-LIGHT]Not gonna happen. Different league, he's on the 3d ****ing line for christ's sake!!! Other than a few times this year I have nothing to complain about. Do you people watch the same games? Or do you just like to ***** and moan to read your own typing?
    I have never heard one person say they expect him to put up Francis numbers, you're going to have to show me a quote to back that up...however, the person you quoted and gave a standing ovation to, did say that Jordan Staal was this generations Ron Francis...
    The only player in the NHL more overpaid than MAF is Jordan Staal

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    Default Re: Staal talented, tough, lucky kid

    Quote Originally Posted by BGK View Post
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    I have never heard one person say they expect him to put up Francis numbers, you're going to have to show me a quote to back that up...however, the person you quoted and gave a standing ovation to, did say that Jordan Staal was this generations Ron Francis...
    Well, once he brought it up it sure did have everyone comparing the two, didn't it?

    Maybe because I could see it and agree with him. Yet everyone else likes to cast him off as a player with no fortitude. **** that.

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    Default Re: Staal talented, tough, lucky kid

    Quote Originally Posted by jmd View Post
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    Well, once he brought it up it sure did have [HIGH-LIGHT]everyone [/HIGH-LIGHT]comparing the two, didn't it?

    Maybe because I could see it and agree with him. Yet everyone else likes to cast him off as a player with no fortitude. **** that.
    I compared the two to show him how wrong he was...I guess that might constitute "everyone" in some people's minds...

    So you agree with him that Jordan Staal is this generations Ron Francis, yet me saying Conner is better than Dupuis is crazy...hahaha gotcha...

    moving on....
    The only player in the NHL more overpaid than MAF is Jordan Staal

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