Off the Ice with Jordan Staal

2/6/2008

Recently I was able to obstruct Pittsburgh Penguins center Jordan Staal long enough to ask him a few of these questions. Staal is in just his second NHL season, won’t even turn 20 until September 10 and has already established himself as a solid pro. Hailing from Thunder Bay, Ontario, the Penguins made him the second player selected in the first round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and he immediately made the team out of training camp — appearing in 81 of the Penguins 82 games. Jordan is the younger brother of Eric (who was picked 2nd overall in 2003, won a Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006 and was the MVP of this year’s All-Star Game) and Marc (who is in his rookie season with the New York Rangers after being selected 12th overall in the 2005 NHL Draft). In his rookie season Jordan established a handful of records as an 18-year-old, including: He was the first player since 1982 to score his first three career goals shorthanded; he was the first youngest player to score on a penalty shot; he set an NHL rookie record with seven shorthanded goals (which led the league); he also became the youngest player to record a hat trick (at 18 years, 153 days); and he established a new rookie record in leading the NHL in shooting percentage (22.1%). This season hasn’t been quite the success for Jordan that 2006-07 was (29g-13a-42 points), but he has started to play better lately (2g-3a in his last six games) and he still logs major minutes for Pittsburgh as they battle for a second consecutive playoff berth. At press time, Jordan has 18 points (7g-11a), averages about 20 minutes in ice-time and has two game-winning goals. For those readers that are amazed three brothers could be drafted so high and have an impact in the NHL in such a short time, hold on, there’s more. Their younger brother, Jared, is a 17-year-old prospect who will likely be selected in this summer’s upcoming NHL draft. So who is Jordan Staal off the ice? Read on:

Dan Rice: Who has been the best roommate you’ve had in the NHL so far?

Jordan Staal: I’d have to say my first one, Chris Thorburn (who is now with Atlanta), he’s a beauty. I had a lot of fun with him.

DR: Are you still living at Mark Recchi’s house in Pittsburgh now that he’s playing in Atlanta?

JS: Yeah, I do. They have a great family there and (they’ve) said I’m always welcome there. I just didn’t really want to bother (with) moving right in the middle of the season and all that stuff. So I’m going to wait until next year (to move) and they have no problem with it. I’m happy to be there.

DR: Favorite NHL city that you’ve played in?

JS: Montreal, the fans there are at another level. It’s always sold-out and they’re always going nuts. It’s always fun to play there.

DR: What kind of music is on your iPod these days?

JS: Little bit of everything; I listen to country, alternative rock or techno before a game.

DR: What’s the best or funniest practical joke that you’ve seen (in the locker room)?

JS: I always liked it when someone puts water in another player’s stick. I think that’s pretty funny. The player doesn’t know what’s going on (because his stick is so heavy).

DR: Who is the biggest prankster on the team?

JS: Ryan Malone.

DR: What’s the funniest or craziest thing someone has said to you or that you’ve heard while you are on the ice?

JS: Someone called me a horse, like a straight up horse. He said ‘you look like a horse.’ That was pretty funny.

DR: What has been your best hockey memory so far?

JS: I’d have to say the hat trick I scored in Toronto (February 10, 2007).

DR: Favorite TV Show?

JS: Family Guy

DR: Favorite Movie?

JS: Gladiator.

DR: Any superstitions?

JS: Nah, more of a routine.

DR: Who’s your best friend in the NHL?

JS: (smirking) I guess I’ll say one of my brothers.

DR: Favorite team in another sport?

JS: I’m starting to become a big fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers (now that he lives in Pittsburgh).

I hope everyone enjoyed learning more about Jordan Staal and if there is a player you’d like to read about in a future column or have a question you want asked, let me know:

Dan Rice covers the New Jersey Devils & NHL for NYCSportsnetwork.com & contributes to MaxHockey.com as well as IslesNation.com. He can be reached at drdiablo321@yahoo.com.

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