SUN Hockey Pool

Staios blocks out shooting pains

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:39 AM ET

VANCOUVER — Blocking shots in practice isn’t something anyone would recommend.

At least not with live rounds. Dion Phaneuf unintentionally broke bones in two teammates’ bodies over the past couple of years during drills not even intended as blocking betterment.

But Steve Staios did practise getting in front pucks while honing his skills with the Edmonton Oilers.

“Mac T used to bring out the old sponge pucks,” Staios said with a grin. “We used to work on it.”

While under the tutelage of former Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, Staios became one of the game’s best at getting in shooting lanes.

He’s among the 10 most pelted blueliners since the lockout and can’t remember many of those blocks going badly.

“I’ve had some stuff, but I’ve been fortunate,” Staios said.

“Shin pads (have broken), for sure. I took one in the chest from Rob Blake. That was memorable. That one knocked me down. A one-timer.

“That was probably the scariest one. It hit me high in the chest, and there’s a guy that can really tee it up.”

Another one smacked his upper body recently. It was his second game as a Flame — a win over the Wild in Minnesota — and the puck nailed him in the ribs.

No padding there, and Staios isn’t afraid to tell the truth about it.

“Sure it hurt,” Staios said with a laugh before being asked to rank the pain on a scale of one to 10.

“I don’t know. It’s hard to say. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been. There was no padding, but it’s just a bruise.”

Staios, who had a pair of the 30 blocked shots by the Flames in a 2-0 win over the Ottawa Senators last Thursday, hasn’t let his age (36) or 15 NHL seasons spoil his appetite for getting in front of the rubber.

The hunger is still there.

“For sure. Absolutely,” he said. “It’s part of what I can bring.

“As games get tighter down the stretch and into the playoffs, I think it becomes more important that you have guys willing to do that.”

In his case, it’s about helping the Flames win, and not padding his numbers.

“I’m not much for statistics. I’ve always judged my game on how the team’s doing,” said Staios, whose perfect record as a Flame (4-0) was on the line Sunday night in Vancouver.

“It’s been fun for me, the last week or so, getting some wins for this team.

“At this time of year, it’s been a lot of fun.”


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