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Comments from Staal about his return

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Center JORDAN STAAL couldn’t stop smiling Saturday morning. He had good reason, as his long-awaited return will come for the Winter Classic tonight.

Staal, who hasn’t played this season, was even in a joking mood.

“Even you weren’t too bad during it,” he said, a reference to constant media attention about his status dating to the discovery last summer that his surgically-repaired right foot was infected.

Another infection would require a third surgery on that foot, and just when Staal was set to return in early November his right hand was broken by a puck.

“It was just crazy,” he said. “It really took me a couple of days to believe what was actually happening, that I wasn’t coming back.”

Staal added that he had not set the Classic, which will be played tonight because of rain this afternoon, as a comeback date. He only resumed practicing with teammates last Sunday.

“I wanted to come back as soon as I could,” he said. “This just kind of worked out.”

The Penguins didn’t escape their morning practice today without injury. Winger CRAIG ADAMS right hand was sliced and required stitches when his stick broke on a faceoff and cut the inside of his glove. It is not know if Adams will be available for the game.

–ROSSI

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Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

Comments

  1. Shawn says:

    I wish they had waited one game on Jordan. His return disrupted the chemistry of 3 lines.

    Last night was technically only 1 of 82…except for the part where that game will be rerun forever and conclude the HBO series. Not a game you want to lose…

    The hit on Crosby could and should have been a 5 minute major. Unless Bettman wants to be more like Roger Goodell, I fully expect to see supplemental discipline on that blind side hit to the head.

  2. Skeptical Penfan says:

    HIt on Crosby should have been a 5 minute major, game misconduct, and ejection plus 2game suspension (see Thornton, Joe, San Jose Sharks) Thornton delivered a similar hit (which he too claimed was unintended) however, the league headshot rule meted out punishment. Am curious if Crosby was playing with a concussion. HNIC and Don Cherry were all discussing that he had to be concussed given the force of the hit..

    If you view the hit in slow motion, Steckel dips his right shoulder directly into Crosby’s head while his right foot is raised in “charging stride” so Steckel hit him from behind with momentum, taking at least two strides to reach Crosby. It’s hard to claim “unintended” contact given the number of strides/distance Steckel traveled and that he was facing Sid.,,,plus the puck was no where near the action. The hit happened so far behind the play that none of the other Pen’s playes or coaches saw what happened.

    I have to say i was very surprised at the lack of coverage by the Pittsburgh media. The Washington Media had more coverage of the hit, with quotes from Steckel. Some media even went so far as to suggest that “Crosby hit his head against Steckel” which i found especially offensive.

    Wonder how the possible concussion will affect Crosby’s and the Pen’s season?

  3. #4Orrfan says:

    I agree with Skeptical Penfan. That was an intentional hit on Crosby. I was sitting perpendicular to the play and was staring at it as it happened. Steckel took a couple of big strides straight at him and took his shot. After seeing it again but on the DVR I can see why so many think it was inadvertant. That is the result of the camera angle (an angled shot from center ice) which cuts off part of Steckels movements where he lines Crosby up. I also don’t think it’s an accident that it happened just a few minutes after running the Pens goalie either. I was surprised no one on the Pens did anything about it.

 
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