It’s been nearly a year since Jordan Staal was traded by the Pittsburgh Penguins to Carolina. Last summer’s draft saw the blockbuster deal that sent Staal to the Hurricanes to play alongside his brother, Eric Staal, and free him from the shadow of Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby.
Tonight he plays his first game back in Pittsburgh where it’s expected he’ll receive a warm welcome from the fans. Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer shares the story.
“It’s exciting to be back,” Staal said after Saturday’s morning skate. “Obviously I wish we were in a better situation and it being a bigger game than it is. It’s still very exciting for myself just to come in this building and be able to play against my ex-teammates.”
Neither team has much to play for. Carolina is out of the playoffs and will be involved in Monday’s draft lottery while the Penguins are locked in as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Jordan just has to hope Brandon Sutter doesn’t brag to him too much about how nice things are on a Cup contender.
Mike Babcock’s reign with the Detroit Red Wings ended in another first-round defeat, yet it may be lost in time just how close that series was.
Yes, the Tampa Bay Lightning shut down the Red Wings to win Game 7 at home, but Ben Bishop deserves a ton of the credit. The Red Wings snagged the puck for much of the contest, just not enough to beat the big goalie.
While change is in the air in Detroit, the Bolts are largely the same squad that generated a nice showing in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. We’ll get to see if the Red Wings gain a measure of revenge on NBCSN tonight, with home-ice advantage this time around.
Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.
It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.
“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”
Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.
Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.
Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.
“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”