As the Hurricanes look to bounce back from Saturday’s 5-4 shootout loss to Detroit Monday, it’ll be a milestone for their leader: captain Jordan Staal will play his 1,000th game.
Staal and Rod Brind’Amour spoke with the media following Sunday’s practice, here’s a full breakdown of everything they had to say:
On advice to his younger self: I guess I wouldn’t really believe it, I guess. You kind of go one year at a time, one game at a time. I’d say well done and keep going.
On his top three most memorable moments as an NHL player: The Cup’s obviously number one and that moment. I thought dressing with [Jared Staal] and [Eric Staal] and [Marc Staal] was in the building as well, was a really cool moment in my career. I think my first year in the league, I think the hat trick in Toronto was a really cool moment for myself, and being on Don Cherry after would be No. 3.
On him being there for Eric’s 1,000th ceremony and Marc being there for his: I was kind of thinking that the people setting up those games have accidentally put our brother’s games together in those times. It was really, really cool to be there for Eric’s. Obviously I’m sure it was cool for him to to have the two teams he played the most for at the game, two great organizations. It was fun to experience that. Having Marc and my parents here is really cool. The more the merrier, it’s just more people to experience a cool moment and create those memories with. It worked out great.
On what he’s most proud of other than the cup: Wearing the C is really cool. I didn’t think I would like it as much as I do. This team makes it that much easier, but I enjoy playing with these guys, leading by example and doing all those things that I grew up doing, my values and the way I carry myself, I take pride in that and enjoy doing that in the day to day. I think wearing the C is a really cool thing, and there’s not a whole lot of guys that get the chance to do it. So I think that’s probably what I’m most proud of.
On if he can catch Rod Brind’Amour in games played: I don’t know, Roddy’s nuts. He played a long time. We’ll see how that goes. It’s always kind of one year at a time and one game at a time.
On what’s surprised him most about being an NHL player: It’s hard. There’s good times, there’s no question. There’s hard times too. For me, personally, having my brothers doing the same thing made it 1,000 times easier. We got to lean on each other through good and bad. I think that made it easier. The job’s hard. It’s tough. It’s challenging. And that’s what I love about it, but I never thought it was going to be easy. But I didn’t realize how hard it is to stay in this league and be at the level you want to be at, and being able to play this long has been a blessing.
On what it means to him to make it this far: I didn’t really expect it growing up, and I just wanted to make the NHL and wanted to work hard, make an impression and keep playing. It kind of just all blurs together. It happens fast. The years go by fast. I watch my kids grow up, it goes fast. Next thing you know, you’re at 1,000.
It’s not just me. There’s my brother that helped me, my trainers, guys that help keep my body right. My family that keeps my mind right. There’s a lot of people that I have to thank, my parents, to get where I’ve gotten to. I’m going to leaning on all those people a lot more in the future.
On how the game has changed: It’s gotten faster for sure. There’s a lot more skill and speed. It’s exciting, I think. There’s not as much fights and stuff and the hard stuff sometimes, but that can come down the road in the playoffs. It’s a quicker game, a faster game, there’s a lot of skill and the puck moves quick. The guys that come up are very skilled. They all can shoot and do all these great things with the puck. Sometimes you need more meat and potatoes from them, but it’s still a very fast league. It’s changed, and it’s fun trying to keep up with it.
On if he’s heard from anyone ahead of his 1,000th game: Not yet. Tripp Tracy texted me this morning. He might have been the first one. I’ve met a lot of amazing people. I’m sure I’ll hear from a few. All throughout my career, that’s definitely one of the main things I’ll be thankful for when I’m done is all the friendships I’ve made and all the great people I’ve gotten to play with and compete with. It’s one thing I’ve really enjoyed as an NHL hockey player.
On playing against his brothers and Marc hitting him in the third period Saturday: I was surprised they didn’t make a call there. It was a great game against Marc. That’s something I don’t take for granted, playing against my brother. I’ve gotten those questions a ton of times, but it doesn’t really get old. Being able to play against Marc and obviously experience 1,000 and see him move towards that as well, it’s been remarkable how awesome my brothers have been playing. They’ve been in this league for a long time. It’s just been a lot of fun. We don’t take any of it for granted. We’re thankful for everything and it’s been a ride.
On what he remembers about his 1,000th game: I don’t remember much about the actual game, because it was a little different how we did it back then. You played your game, and then they did kind of a celebration after if I remember. I could be wrong. But the 1,000th game thing where they celebrated was pretty special, the players all wearing the jersey and just neat things that night. I thought that was pretty cool.
On durability and longevity: I think it’s super special. 1,000 games, it’s a big number. You can’t play 1,000 games without doing it right. It’s no fluke. I know there’s a lot of guys that have done it, but it’s still super special. I don’t really know how else to describe it. It’s not an accident that these guys play 1,000 games. You have to do it right, and you have to be a good teammate and do all the things that make you play in the National Hockey League. A lot of guys don’t get to that point.
On the trade deadline: It doesn’t really effect me too much. I don’t know how much it effects the players. They’re used to this time of year. It’s kind of business as usual. You look around the rooms of most teams in the league, there’s not too many guys that have been on one team. You do get traded. That’s just part of the business. When you have a team like we have, where obviously I like where we’re at. Can we better? Yeah. But do we have to go get players to get better? That’s the whole question. I think we have them here. That’s why I don’t think there’s a lot of pressing things that [Don Waddell] has to deal with.
On his advice to Jordan Staal: I know he doesn’t really want to be talked about. I think he’s the one guy who’s like ‘Can we just play it like normal and get it over with?’ He doesn’t like the attention. I love that we’re giving it to him and you guys are talking about him and trying to bring light to a great player who we all love and deserves that kind of respect and adoration. I don’t have any words of advice to him. He doesn’t need it.
On if Jordan Staal is the type of player who could keep on playing: It’s a heavy game, so it takes its toll for sure. But it’s all about how you take care of yourself, how you prepare, how much you want to do it. I don’t know how much does he want to go that long, who knows? But if he wanted to, he certainly could.