Sometimes, you just got to step up and take it. Really, I've basically forgotten about this game as I've been buried in that silly college stuff, but I certainly haven't forgotten what Jordan Staal did. Stepping up for your teammate is a big time thing to do, especially when you're not someone named Eric Godard or Mike Rupp. Jordan Staal fighting shows how close the team is just as much as passing up an empty net goal for someone else. The Pens are tightly knit, even with new guys like Martin Skoula. It's a great thing to see going forward. No one doing anything when there's a questionable hit is one of the most worrisome things you can see on the ice.
Before this though was a nice fight to get the teams going. Do you guys hate afternoon games as much as me? Baseball and football are afternoon sports, hockey is for the evening and night. I won't lie, when it's an afternoon game, I'm not that into it at first until a big hit or a fight. Thankfully, Deryk Engelland was all too happy to oblige for me.
It's too bad the photographers at Nassau Coliseum didn't want to oblige me with photos that made Engelland look like he was doing a good job:
Barfffff. At least I was into the game at that point. The fight made the game real immediately. After that the game had a feel to it. Really, I wish the Isles were better, and they are getting better, so that these games mean even more. Having John Tavares in the division is going to create a big rivalry between these two teams coming from Tavares vs. Crosby.
Of course, hits like the one Nate Thompson gave Martin Skoula and the response by Jordan Staal will also create a situation like that. Jordan Staal is not a fighter, and that's what makes this fight so much more important. His fights are often silly and ridiculous looking, usually ending in his ass getting kicked, but it's about showing up in this case:
Want some? Get some. Alright, fine, you can watch the fight too...
Thompson goes all Jarkko Ruutu on Staal here, playing possum at first and then just laying him out. Again, it doesn't matter at all, just as long as Staal shows up.
It should come as no surprise that Staal gets a ten minute misconduct on this play as well, considering the ref. You don't see it all the time, Sidney Crosby didn't get a misconduct for fighting Keith Ballard after a hip check against Evgeni Malkin last year for example, but Staal does. Crosby, like Staal, did get an instigation penalty. However, Bill McCreary just loves to effect the game in some way. Why does he need ten minutes on top of that? He doesn't.
Let the players police the game.