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For Jordan Staal, a whirlwind day ends with new beginnings

Friday was a day of new beginnings for Jordan Staal, in more ways than one.
Friday was a day of new beginnings for Jordan Staal, in more ways than one.

Wedding days are stressful enough as it is, and by the end of the day it isn't at all surprising for the day to have melted into one big blur of processions, food, gifts, toasts and eventually collapsing into a bed, unable to remember many - if any - details.

But for Jordan Staal, his wedding day will be one he won't soon forget. Not long after he and new wife Heather were pronounced man and wife, they learned that they would soon be moving to a new home, as Staal was traded to the Hurricanes after six seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On a conference call with reporters Saturday afternoon, Staal admitted that, even though he had long harbored hopes to play with one of his brothers in the NHL, when agent Paul Krepelka delivered the news shortly after the reception began it was a bit shocking.

"It was tough news, but I was very excited," Staal said. "It got pretty emotional with my [Penguins] teammates who were there too."

Penguins general manager Ray Shero had offered Staal a ten-year extension last week, which Staal turned down. He said that being stuck behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the Penguins' depth chart was part of the decision, but there was more to it that that.

"A ten-year deal meant a good chance I would never play beside Eric. That was in the back of my mind as well," he said.

Staal was prepared to play out the final year of his contract in Pittsburgh, then test the unrestricted free agency waters next offseason. He admitted that his decision to turn down the Penguins' offer put Shero in a tough spot, but he said that there are no hard feelings on either side.

He also did his best to allay any fears among the Carolina fanbase that he would be a one-year rental.

"Knowing what Eric has told me about how great Carolina is, both the organization and the fans, I've thought about extending with Carolina and calling it home. That's been in the back of my mind through all this."

Staal talked repeatedly about how he is excited for his expected bigger role in the Canes' offense. "I haven't had a conversation about my role here yet, whether on the wing or at center," he said. "I'm really excited about the challenge."

Given their nearly four-year age difference, it might come as a surprise that the Staals played together relatively recently: at the 2007 IIHF World Championships, Jordan and Eric were part of the gold-medal winning Canadian squad, and played together on the same line at one point.

But it was the opportunity to play alongside Eric for a long time that excited Jordan more than anything else.

"It's something we would all like to do," Jordan said. "Playing alongside your brother in the National Hockey League is a special thing."