There was another coach at PNC Arena on Sunday who once had Eric Staal as a player — Kirk Muller.
Muller was the Canes’ head coach from 2011 to 2014 and now is an assistant for St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock. His take on Staal and the trade:
“When I came here to coach I knew he was the face of the team. I knew if he went out and exemplified with the way he could play, and played well, the other guys would follow him. When he had that big body rolling and going, and had great body language and played hard, he ate up a lot of minutes and brought a lot of people into the battle.”
Staal led the Canes in scoring each of the three seasons Muller was the coach. He had an 11-game assist streak in 2011-12, the longest in the NHL that season, and an 11-game point streak in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.
“I had fun coaching him,” Muller said. “He’s having a great career and won a championship and I think it will be fun for him to get that opportunity to go to the playoffs again with the Rangers. It will make him feel young again.”