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.