January 3, 2007
Staal, Parent quite a pairFamiliarity breeds competence
By TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun
LEKSAND, Sweden -- Ryan Parent has had years to get used to it, but he hates it when some of Marc Staal's belongings wind up on his side of the room.
Like a married couple who finish each other's sentences, Parent and Staal have become close in their time together representing Canada. Not only are they two of six Canadian players at the 2007 world junior (along with Andrew Cogliano, Dan Bertram, Ryan O'Marra and Jonathan Toews) who have won gold at the under-17, under-18 and world junior levels, they have been roommates for many of those tournaments and camps.
ON THE SPOT
"I think he is just saying that to put me on the spot," Parent said with a smile in response to Staal's claim that Parent is the more fastidious of the two. "We're great friends because we are the same kind of guys. We'll be friends forever."
It's not a coincidence that where Staal and Parent go, gold medals result. Neither will be confused with high-flying points machines on the blue line (though Staal has more of that in his blood), but the value of the pair can't be underestimated. When Canada is in a defensive pinch, the two are first over the boards.
"They move the puck quickly and that may sound like it is nothing, but it gets you out of a lot of defensive problems," Canada coach Craig Hartsburg said after practice yesterday at Ejendals Arena. "There is no panic in either one of them, especially when things start to happen. They sort it out quickly."
Staal was the 12th pick overall by the New York Rangers in 2005 and Parent was selected six spots later by the Nashville Predators. Staal plays for the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League and Parent wears the sweater of the Guelph Storm.
Both are from Northern Ontario and figure that common trait has helped in their ability to bond. Staal was born in Thunder Bay on Jan. 13, 1987. Parent was born March 17, 1987 in Prince Albert, Sask., and moved to Sioux Lookout, Ont., at age four.
"We're given such specific roles, and that really helps," Staal said. "We're told to shut down players and both of us play that game really well. We talk a lot away from the ice and that makes us more comfortable with each other when we are on the ice."