Penguins Notebook: Staal family tradition anything but good one

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This is becoming something of a family tradition for the Staals.

And not an entirely pleasant one.

Jordan Staal, a Penguins center, made his 2010-11 debut in the Winter Classic Jan. 1, 2011, at Heinz Field after missing 39 games because of a foot infection and broken hand.

A year and a day later, his brother, Marc, a New York Rangers defenseman, made his first appearance of 2011-12 in the Winter Classic Monday at Philadelphia, returning from a concussion.

Their older brother, Eric, a center with Carolina, surely cannot like the trend that seems to be developing.

At least for the moment, though, the family's focus is on Marc's return to work.

"Obviously, I'm very excited to see him back," Jordan Staal said. "It's definitely a relief, obviously, for himself and for our family."

Marc Staal was hurt on a hit from brother Eric last season, and it did not become widely known that he would play Monday until a few hours before the game.

"He told us the night before [that he might play]," Jordan Staal said. "He was debating that day. He actually called me, just to talk, and said he was going to make the decision that night."

Although it had been widely believed that Marc would be out at least a little longer, Jordan was not entirely surprised that he came back when he did.

"He was feeling really good," Jordan said. "We knew, at some point, that he was going to be back soon. I think that, over Christmas, he wasn't really expecting to play [Monday], but we knew he was feeling good.

"It was up for grabs, and I'm glad he played and played well."

Injury updates

Defenseman Paul Martin, who missed the past six games because of an unspecified injury, practiced with the Penguins for the second day in a row Tuesday.

Although he left the ice a few minutes before the workout ended, Martin still is expected to be in the lineup when the Rangers visit Consol Energy Center Friday.

The outlook is hazier for forwards Pascal Dupuis and Arron Asham, both of whom were injured Saturday in the Penguins' 3-1 loss in New Jersey.

Dupuis skated in sweat pants for about 10 minutes before practice Tuesday, and Asham did not go on the ice. Coach Dan Bylsma said both are considered "day to day."

He added that forward Dustin Jeffrey (knee) and defenseman Robert Bortuzzo (concussion) skated before the practice.

All the injured players will have a chance to rest a little more today, because the Penguins are scheduled for a day off.

Saluting Rupp

Rangers forward Mike Rupp, who spent the past two seasons with the Penguins, was one of the stars of the Winter Classic, scoring New York's first two goals in a 3-2 victory.

He got the most attention, though, for snapping off a salute -- very much in the style of Flyers winger Jaromir Jagr -- after scoring the first one.

The two guys who dressed on either side of him at Consol Energy Center last season, Chris Kunitz and Craig Adams, said they did not know what motivated Rupp to salute, but did not seem shocked that he would do something rather eye-catching if the opportunity arose.

"He's a fun-loving guy," Kunitz said. "As big and rough and rugged as he might be, he definitely has a playful side to him and an enjoyment of the game."

Jagr made it known after the game that he was not particularly amused by the salute, but Rupp's former teammates were not inclined to second-guess what he did.

"I don't know what the significance was," Adams said. "I like [Rupp] a lot. He's a friend. He's a big boy. He can do what he wants."



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