Obviously by this point you know that Jordan Staal has been traded to Carolina. You can debate the trade all you want, but you can't debate what Staal meant to the Penguins while he was with the team. Even writing that in the past tense seems weird.
Right now, this is us:
Obviously we'll be looking forward to seeing Brandon Sutter and the new Penguins in the line-up – and we'll talk all about them a lot in the future – but right now we're going to look back at what Jordan Staal accomplished during his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
It's hard to think of Staal without thinking of that goal. If the Red Wings score on that power play, they likely take the Cup. Instead, Staal ties it up and the Penguins end up winning the game and evening the series.
What we said about it at the time:
Something had to happen. This was last year all over again. The Wings were preparing to fire their primary weapon. The Pens had to disable it now. So Jordan Staal went on a magical mystery tour. He uses some unrealistic speed to fly through the neutral zone. Brian Rafalski wished he was 10 years younger as Staal powers past him and beats Elroy.
The common theme will be to say it was a series-changing goal. How history treats Jordan Staal's goal will be determined by these next few games. You might think about the play while you have sex. Or you may never think about it again. One thing the goal did do, was stun the Wings. They never recovered in the game.
Staal made a living on shorthanded goals. He was the youngest player to score two shorthanded goals in one game and he recorded the most shorthanded goals by a rookie in one season. Speaking of shorthanded goals, this goal from his rookie year was beautiful:
Staal was also the youngest player in NHL history to score a hat trick:
And the youngest player to score on a penalty shot:
Jordan Staal had a dominant, defining game in November 2008 when he scored three goals and assisted on the game winner during the Pens huge comeback against the Detroit Red Wings:
What we said at the time:
We've seen a lot of stuff. And without rushing to judgment or speaking in the moment, Jordan Staal played one of the best regular-season hockey games we've ever seen. Wow, just wow.
He wasn't too bad one-on-one either:
And, Staal's final big highlight with the Pens:
Staal played 431 games for the Pittsburgh Penguins over six seasons and he had several big moments in those games. Staal brought a lot to the team including shorthanded goals, penalty killing and roaring after he scored a goal.
However, it was unfortunately time for him to go. He was a top line player stuck on the third line. He couldn't make the money he wanted in Pittsburgh. He couldn't get the ice time he deserved. He wanted to be "the guy" on a team and he wanted to play with his brother. Now he has what he wanted. Best of luck in Carolina.
I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friend.