-Happy 27th birthday to former Penguins forward Jordan Staal (right). A first-round pick in 2006 (No. 2 overall), Staal spent six seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 2006-07, Staal appeared in 81 games, set an NHL rookie record with seven shorthanded goals, scored 29 overall goals, 42 points and was selected as a finalist for the Calder Trophy. In the 2007 postseason, Staal appeared in five games and scored three goals. Despite playing in all 82 games in 2007-08, Staal's offensive numbers regressed as he only scored 28 points. In the postseason, he saw action in 20 games, scored seven points and helped the team reach the Stanley Cup final for the first time in 16 years. Staal's production rebounded in 2008-09 as he once again played in all 82 games and scored 22 goals and 49 points. In that spring's playoffs, Staal, playing primarily on a line with Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy, saw action in 24 games and scored nine points, including a key shorthanded goal against the Red Wings in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final (see below). Staal helped the team claim the series, 4-3, and got his name on the Cup. During 2009-10, Staal, one of the Penguins' top penalty killers, once again appeared in all 82 games, scored 21 goals, 49 assists and was named a finalist for the Selke Trophy. In the playoffs, Staal played in 11 games and scored five points. Injuries limited Staal to 42 games and 30 points in 2010-11. In seven postseason games that spring, he scored three points. Staal rebounded this past season by appearing in 62 games and scoring a career-best 25 points. Appearing in six postseason games, he led the team in goals (six) and points (nine). In 431 regular season games with the Penguins, Staal scored 248 points, 32nd-most in franchise history. In 73 postseason games, "Gronk" scored 36 points. From midway through his rookie season until the end of the 2009-10 campaign, Staal appeared in 302 consecutive games, third-most in franchise history. During the 2012 offseason, Staal was traded to the Hurricanes in exchange for Brandon Sutter, Brian Dumoulin and a draft pick. He is still a member of the Hurricanes.
-Happy 58th birthday to former Penguins goaltender Rob Holland. Acquired in the 1979 offseason along with Pat Hughes in a deal which sent Denis Herron and a draft pick to the Canadiens, Holland spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. In 1979-80, Holland appeared in 34 games and had a 10-17-6 record with a 3.83 goals against average and one shutout. He saw action in 10 games in 1980-81 and went 1-5-3 with a 5.01 goals against average. In the 1981 offseason, Holland was traded to the Islanders for future considerations. In 44 games with the Penguins, Holland went 11-22-9 with a 4.08 goals against average and one shutout.
-Happy 46th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Chris Joseph (right). A first-round pick in 1987 (No. 5 overall), Joseph spent parts of three seasons over two different stints with the Penguins. As a rookie in 1987-88, Joseph appeared in 17 games and recorded four assists before being traded along with Craig Simpson, Dave Hannan and Moe Mantha to the Oilers in exchange for Paul Coffey, Dave Hunter and Wayne Van Dorp. After stints with the Oilers and Lightning, Joseph returned to the Penguins when he was claimed off waivers from the Lightning early in the 1994-95 season. In 33 games with the Penguins that season, Joseph scored 15 points. In that spring's playoffs, he saw action in 10 games and netted two points. Joseph played in 70 games in 1995-96 and contributed 19 points. In that season's playoffs, Joseph appeared in 15 games and scored one goal. In the 1997 offseason, Joseph signed with the Flyers as a free agent. In 120 regular season games with the Penguins, Joseph scored 38 points. In 25 playoff games with the Penguins, he scored three points.
Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division
-Former Devils forward Steve Bernier will attend the Islanders' training camp on a tryout basis.
-Rangers defenseman Keith Yandle said he is fully recovered from a shoulder injury he suffered in his first-round playoff series with the Penguins last postseason.
-Defenseman Justin Faulk has become a cornerstone of the Hurricanes.
-The Panthers have invited former forward David Booth (right) to attend their training camp on a tryout basis.
-Lightning forward Tyler Johnson is still recovering from a fractured wrist he suffered during the Stanley Cup Final.
-"Obviously whenever a player is involved in something like Patrick Kane is subject to right now in terms of the authorities investigating and looking, it's unfortunate. It's a terrible thing but we're going to have to watch the process play out and at the appropriate time we'll make whatever decisions have to be made at the time." - NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on the investigation of rape allegations against Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane.
-“I totally believe [Kane]. He’s always been honest with me. I’ve known him for a long time. I’ve been doing this a long time as a sports agent. You get to know people and get to know the character of an individual. Spending more time with Patrick over this situation, I do believe he is innocent.” - Pat Brisson, Kane's agent.
-What should the Wild do with backup goaltender Niklas Backstrom who is recovering from an elbow injury?
-The Coyotes acquired the signing rights to restricted free agent defenseman Stefan Elliott from the Avalanche in exchange for defenseman Brandon Gormley. After the trade, Elliott agreed to a one-year, two-way contract. Elliott, 24, appeared in in five NHL games last season and scored no points. Gormley, 23, is signed to a one-year, two-way contract. In 27 games last season, he scored four points (two goals, two assists).
-EN Says: This looks like a trade of failed prospects. Gormley is a former first-round pick (No. 13 overall in 2010) who has stumbled thus far in his career mostly due to injuries. Elliott is a former second-round pick in 2009 who never found his footing in Colorado. The cliched change of scenery could benefit each player.
-Former Penguins defenseman Corey Potter and former Oilers defenseman Keith Aulie will attend the Coyotes' training camp on a tryout basis.
-"I think most of the players want to stay away from that kind of stuff. The players don’t want to say the wrong thing to the media, or say the wrong thing any time. We’ll just let management deal with it.” - Kings defenseman Drew Doughty on defenseman Slava Voynov (right, with Doughty, No. 8). Voynov, a native of Russia, is currently in custody of U.S. Immigration officials. He is facing a possible deportation after being pleading “no contest” to a domestic violence charge. As far as hockey is concerned, Voynov is currently suspended indefinitely by the NHL.
-Canucks coach Willie Desjardins will miss his team's training camp following hip surgery.
-The NHL and NHLPA unveiled the format for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. There will be eight teams in two groups:
Group A - Canada, United States, Czech Republic and "Europe."
Group B - Finland, Sweden, Russia and "North America.
The "Europe" team will consist of players from countries such as Switzerland, Slovenia, Slovakia and Germany. The "North America" team will consist of Canadian and American players under the age of 23. The entire tournament will take place in Toronto's Air Canada Centre Sept. 17 through Oct. 1 of 2016.
-EN Says: Staging a tournament with "extra" players from North America and a hodge-podge team from the "other" European countries just comes off as second rate compared to the Olympics and even the IIHF World Championship tournament. But this tournament is being held in Canada and the NHL-NHLPA partnership knows the audience this will be preformed for. It will sell a ton of high-priced tickets and generate strong television ratings in Canada but not many other places. The IIHF World Championship is similar in that it's usually staged with a European audience in mind. Relatively few people in North America care about that tournament.
There was a time when the World Cup of Hockey, which used to be the Canada Cup (right), meant a lot. It was the only way the world's top hockey talent would share the same sheet of ice. But with the Cold War over and the NHL participation in the Olympics now a regular occurence, the World Cup of Hockey just doesn't mean that much any longer.
-Click here to view the tournament schedule.
-Former Penguins forward Miroslav Satan will serve as general manager of of the "Europe" team.
-“Whose anthem will they play if they win the tournament?” - Lightning captain/forward Steven Stamkos on the "Europe" team.
-Will the World Cup of Hockey impact the Olympics in 2018?
(Photos: Joel Auerbach/Getty Images, Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, Victor Decolongon/Getty Images and Penguins Hockey Cards)