Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Little Help From My Friends

No matter how you look at it, this is a big year for Jordan Staal. With a contract up next year, Staal needs a boost in his numbers if he wants to command the type of salary he's capable of getting. So how does a natural center get his offensive groove back?

With a little help from an old friend...

We talk a lot about leadership both on and off the ice, but what does it really come down to?

Sometimes it's the little things.

The return of Staal's offensive game started with a pass from Malkin. That pass lead to an empty net goal, Staal's first of the season. While Malkin could have easily taken a shot, he knew his teammate needed to get on the board. Since then Staal has had 6 more goals - three of which came in a hat trick against Detroit. Another empty net goal for Staal was again the result of a cross ice pass from Malkin.

For me, seeing Malkin help out a teammate who needs to get the "no goal monkey" off his back speaks volumes about his leadership abilities. We've seen this with Sid too. When Sid and Colby Armstrong played on the same line, Colby got into quite a scoring drought mid season. Eventually Crosby said "Ok we're getting you a goal tonight". And he did. The confidence boost for Colby was huge. For Sid it was just another day at the office.

As they have posted on the wall in the Pen's locker room:

"Success is the sum of small efforts - performed day in and day out."

What kind of efforts can we expect from our Staal brother this year? Regardless of what he does, it's going to be interesting (and a bit nail biting!) to see where he ends up. GM Ray Shero recently said that he would like to keep Staal around. But can we afford it? For those of you looking for an upcoming center, stay tuned...


Kirsten said...

I will never be able to think about this duo without thinking of Margee.

Ellie said...

margee's a fan of the malkin/staal combo??