Ready or not, Pittsburgh center Jordan Staal
had to start playing his normal 20-22 minutes per game as soon as Sidney Crosby
was diagnosed with a concussion.
After taking a couple of games to get his timing back, Staal is not just playing the minutes, he's earning them.
Staal, who missed the first 39 games of the season after foot and hand surgeries, has 2 goals and 3 assists in the last two games. It's not a coincidence that his production has equated to Penguins' victories, their first two with Crosby out of the lineup.
"I've been jumping into 20-minute games, which I obviously love," Staal told NHL.com on Monday after the team's workout in preparation for Tuesday's game against Detroit. "The more ice time the better. With Sid out, I'm definitely used more on the power play, more offensively. It's tough because you can never replace a player like Sid, but our team, different players have stepped up in the last couple of games."