Defenseman Marc Staal was still with the Red Wings after Monday’s morning skate and he hopes he’s going to remain there.
For a variety of reasons, actually.
First, the veteran, who can be an unrestricted free agent this summer, has genuinely enjoyed his time with the Wings this season. And it sounds like Staal wouldn’t mind staying beyond this season.
But Monday night in Carolina, the Wings’ opponent, his brother Jordan Staal is playing in the 1,000th game of his career.
Marc, Jordan and Eric Staal have all had long, noteworthy NHL careers. But it’s not too often any of the three have been able to enjoy each other’s milestones live in the arena.
“It’s pretty special to be here,” Marc Staal said. “My brothers have had a lot of milestones over the years, but we’re generally not around because of the schedules. The fact I get to be in the building for his 1,000th game is pretty special.
“I’m kind of looking forward to that, for sure.”
Marc has played 935 games and Eric is at 1,276 games. Jordan will be the 354th player to reach the 1,000 game milestone.
“It’s a proud milestone to hit,” Marc Staal said. “You’re playing in the best league in the world and when you hit 1,000 games, it shows longevity and and your commitment to the game to play that many games. It is special.”
Staal acknowledged the final hours before the deadline is not easy for a player who is speculated to be on the move.
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“Pretty similar every year,” Staal said. “It’s on everybody’s minds here for the last few days and next few hours. It’s one of those days you just kind of wait around until after 3 (p.m.) and go from there and see what the day brings.”
Staal knew a trade was always a possibility when he arrived from the New York Rangers before the season.
“I just wanted to play well and report to this team and help us improve,” Staal said. “For parts of the year, we’ve done that. Since I’ve been here, from Day 1, for the most part we have competed real hard. It’s a team that skates and works hard.
“We’ve had some games obviously that we haven’t been very good, but in a schedule like this, you’re going to have some off nights when you’re playing so much hockey. I like the way we come in and practice and work and compete.
“It’s something I’ve enjoyed being part of. It makes competing in the game a lot more fun when everyone is working hard for each other.”
The question comes up every year — why does the league schedule games on trade deadline day?
With trades usually rampant and players moving from team to team, wouldn’t it be easier for everybody involved to simply have no games scheduled?
The Wings were in Carolina and there were eight games scheduled Monday around the NHL.
“Personally, in a normal year, I wouldn’t schedule games,” coach Jeff Blashill said.
Blashill acknowledged it’s a fair argument but this time around, there’s not a lot of off dates with a compressed schedule.
“Based on the compression of the schedule, and stoppages (postponements), I don’t think there’s any choice this year but to play,” Blashill said.
It was interesting Saturday when Adam Erne was called upon by Blashill to go in the eighth round of the shootout.
Erne doesn’t get an opportunity on the shootout often, but he has been on a roll offensively, including scoring on a partial breakaway earlier in the game.
Sure enough, Erne cliched the victory with a shootout goal.
Did Erne have a planned move?
“I plan it before I get off the bench,” Erne said. “That’s a move I like to do, and I was able to watch (six) guys go before me and see the goalie’s (Petr Mrazek) tendency. It didn’t look like he was moving too much. The guys had some good moves and he made some good saves, but it was just kind of what I saw.”
Based on the lineup, and possible trades, Blashill said there was a chance defenseman Gustav Lindstrom could enter the lineup as soon as Monday.
Lindstrom, 22, played in 16 games last season with one assist.