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Crosby, Giroux, Staal brothers do some chirping in video conference

Players enjoy taking shots at each other's game, keep things light during pause

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

NHL stars discuss pause

Metropolitan Division stars discuss NHL pause

Sidney Crosby, Claude Giroux, Jordan Staal and Marc Staal check in via teleconference to discuss what they've been up to during the NHL pause

  • 32:00 •

Marc Staal misses a lot of things about playing in the NHL, but there are a few things the New York Rangers defenseman is OK doing without right now.

"Sid's always slashing me in the back of the legs, I don't miss that," Staal said Thursday during a video call arranged by the NHL with Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux and his older brother, Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal. "Claude's always chirping on the ice, I don't miss that. He doesn't stop talking. Jordan, I don't miss pushing his [220] pounds around in the corner, or at least trying to."

The players are doing their best to keep things light since the NHL season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. And that includes giving each other a bit of stick from their separate locations.

"I don't miss Marc's stick always in my way," Giroux said. "Get out of my way next time."

Crosby said his back feels better than usual now because, "I don't have to deal with [Marc Staal's] cross-checks in front."

Giroux, who is fourth in the NHL with a 59.0 percent face-off percentage this season, had a message for Crosby and Jordan Staal: "Jordan and Sid, they cheat so much in face-offs, I don't miss that."

A laughing Crosby replied, "That's funny. I was going to say the same thing about you." 

Staal had his own answer for Giroux: "If he stopped talking in the face-off circle he'd probably win a lot more."

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said one of the things he doesn't miss is playing against New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban.

"He always does some slashes," Ovechkin said during a video call that included Subban, Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno and New York Islanders captain Anders Lee. "He's always trying to talk to the refs too. I don't like it. And I always tell him to stop slashing me in the hands because it drives me crazy. But it's his style of game, to get under the skin of different players."

 

[RELATED: Players mixed on how to restart season | Players try to stay sharp during pause]

 

Foligno said he doesn't miss seeing Ovechkin in his favorite spot, the left circle in the offensive zone.

"I just can't stand how you just stand in that one damn spot and score all those goals," he said. "It drives me crazy."

Ovechkin said he wasn't a big fan of the battles he'd have against Foligno, including in the Capitals' six-game win against the Blue Jackets in the 2018 Eastern Conference First Round.

"Hard series, but it was fun," Ovechkin said.

"Fun for you, obviously," Foligno replied.

Lee, at 6-foot-3, 231 pounds, can handle physical play, but going against Ovechkin (6-3, 236) is something he said he can do without.

"I don't run into many guys and almost get the wind knocked out of me every time like when Ovi steps into me," Lee said. "I don't like that very much."

It wasn't just players on the call who were in the line of fire. 

Marc Staal took a bit of a shot at the youngest of his three brothers, choosing Jared, who played two NHL games and now is an assistant coach with Orlando of the ECHL, as the one brother he'd want to be quarantined with, "because I can beat him in things." 

Jordan, the third of the four boys after Eric Staal of the Minnesota Wild and Marc, fired back by saying he'd take Marc, "because he thinks he's good at darts and I could probably take a lot of money from him."

The players said they've tried to keep up with their teammates during the pause, but Giroux said it's been a bit more difficult for the Flyers.

"We did a group FaceTime the other day, didn't go very well," he said. "Everybody just started screaming so we couldn't hear anybody."

Giroux said he's tried playing video games with teammates but has had limited success.

"I bought an Xbox a couple days ago," he said. "I played Scott Laughton in FIFA [soccer] and I lost twice so I haven't really picked it up again. Confidence is hurting right now."

Others have turned to binge-watching television shows. Ovechkin said he's been watching "Deal or No Deal," which drew laughter.

"I did not see that coming," Foligno said. 

Subban said he enjoyed the Netflix series "Tiger King." Lee quickly chimed in from the background, "I think Ovi has a couple tigers." 

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