Last summer, Penguins center Jordan Staal
spent a lot of time sitting around and resting. His ability to workout and condition himself was hampered by an infection in his foot – which forced him to miss training camp and the opening weeks of the 2010-11 regular season.
However, this season Staal hasn’t had to deal with any such setbacks. And thanks to that, he said he’s feeling as good as he’s ever felt.
“I missed a lot last year,” he said. “Hopefully, knock on wood, I’ll have a full season playing hockey and enjoying training camp and what that brings, and seeing the guys again.
“I’m excited about getting a full summer workout in. In years past we’ve made it pretty far (in the playoffs) for a couple years and didn’t have much of a summer, and I was hurt last summer. I’ve had a really good summer working out. My body feels great. I feel confident about the season. I’m excited about it. It should be fun.”
Staal, who is spending his summer in his hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario, has also been working with former Penguin fitness freak Gary Roberts. Staal and his younger brother Jared have been training on a plan designed for them by Roberts.
“Jared wanted to work out with (Roberts), so I decided to help him out,” Staal said. “We flew down (to Toronto) a few times now just to get updates and new phases. I’ve seen Gary a few times this summer. We’ve been working pretty hard. Working out six times a week and doing the best we can.”
Roberts sets up a month-long regime for the Staals. The two brothers meet with Roberts for a couple days at the beginning of each month to go over the routine. Then they fly back to Thunder Bay and work on the program while staying in touch with Roberts.
“We just go down there for a day or two and get the lowdown for the next month,” Staal said. “Then we take off. We have a trainer up here that we work with. That’s pretty much how the workouts have been going.”
But it hasn’t been all work this summer for Staal. At the conclusion of the season he joined teammates Sidney Crosby
and Paul Martin
and former teammate Max Talbot for a trip to Cannes, France.
“It was during the film festival so we stayed there,” Staal said. “It’s a whole other world over there. We didn’t do anything too crazy. We were there for a week. It was a lot of fun. We toured the city and enjoyed our time off.”
Other than a quick trip to Las Vegas, Staal has pretty much stayed in Thunder Bay this offseason.
“I’ve been up at Thunder Bay basically the whole summer hanging out at a camp or on the lake,” he said. “I’m golfing in town and spending time with family and friends.”
And fortunately for Staal, his father Henry hasn’t put him to work yet on the family farm this summer.
“I haven’t even gone into the field yet. I haven’t done anything like that. I’m off the hook on that one now,” Staal joked.
But as the summer winds down and Staal’s workouts begin to ramp up, his adrenaline is starting to kick in about the upcoming season. The healthy returns of Crosby and Evgeni Malkin
and the offseason moves made by general manager Ray Shero has Staal anxious to get the season started.
“I’m really excited. It’ll be nice to play with Sid and Geno again, first off. With the additions we have this summer, it makes it even more exciting,” Staal said. “I’m excited about getting the season going and getting things started. With the players we have it’ll be pretty interesting to see how we do.”