All business on ice for Staals

Brothers compete hard in games, celebrate success later

Staff writerJanuary 26, 2011 

It was quite the attention-grabber, even in New York's famed Madison Square Garden, where nearly everything in sports has been seen or done.

There was Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes hovering over his brother, New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, who had been crunched into the boards. With players from both teams leaning over from the benches, craning necks to take it all in, Eric Staal was penalized late in the second period for charging his brother and was sent to the penalty box.

Charging? Surely such a thing had to linger, creating some sibling resentment. Probably didn't talk or text or anything for days or weeks.

"Yeah, they had dinner after the game, I think," said a smiling Jordan Staal of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the youngest of the three NHL-playing brothers.

Dinner? After the game, after the Rangers' 3-2 overtime win? After that penalty?

"We did. We had a beer together to cheers that one," Eric Staal said, chuckling. "We went out to dinner together. It's competitive on the ice, but you're still brothers at the end of the day.

"

It's the same way with Jordie. I like that. It's fun. It makes it more competitive. "

This weekend, Eric and Marc could again be bumping bodies, battling for position, for the puck. Or they could be teammates, passing the puck to each other. The two Staals will be competing in the All-Star Game at the RBC Center - Eric playing in his fourth All-Star Game and Marc in his first.

"I'm not really that surprised," Jordan Staal said of Marc's selection. "He's really grown in the last few years, and I knew this year he'd have a big year for himself."

Eric and Jordan have won Stanley Cups, and Eric took home a gold medal last year as Team Canada won at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Eric also has been the MVP in an All-Star Game.

Marc Staal, 24, was asked if being named an All-Star will lift his family standing and give him more ammunition in those brotherly hockey debates in the offseason back home in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

"Yeah, a little bit," he said. "Eric won the MVP, so it would be pretty tough to do that. But it's nice to be recognized like that and kind of get close to the same playing field."

Jordan Staal, who missed the first 39 games of this season with injuries, said he would be coming to Raleigh for the weekend, saying, "I'll lay low, hang out at the house." The Staal family will all be in town.

As an All-Star captain, Eric will be drafting a team Friday. Marc has texted and called Eric a few times, offering ideas.

"He's been telling me to take him first, then telling me he doesn't want me to pick him, so he doesn't really know what he wants," Eric said. "I've been getting some pressure from my mom, making sure we're on the same team."

With a team name like Team Staal, why not have both of them on it?

"It'd be pretty cool I think," Marc Staal said. "You know, when you play against him all the time, to have a fun weekend with our family there and everything, just to be on the same ice will be a pretty special memory."

Staff writer Javier Serna contributed to this story.

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