Mom, dad Staal on picking a favourite

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:54 AM ET

PITTSBURGH -- As of yesterday afternoon, Linda Staal had not been overcome with nausea.

But that might have changed as the hours turned into minutes leading to the opening faceoff between the New York Staals and Pittsburgh Staals last night at the Mellon Arena.

The matchup within the matchup in this best-of-seven Eastern Conference semi-final features Jordan Staal, 19, a second-year forward with the Pittsburgh Penguins, going head-to-head against older brother Marc, 21, a rookie defenceman with the New York Rangers.

Watching two of her boys locking horns under the spotlight of the Stanley Cup playoffs is almost too much for a mother to take.

As Marc so accurately observed to reporters on Thursday: "My mom said she is already feeling sick."

While her sons were doing battle in the arena known as The Igloo last night, Linda and husband Henry were back at the family's northern Ontario home. At this point mom is reluctant to commit to attending any games in the series, although nothing is being ruled out.

STAYING HOME

"It's going to be pretty hard to see them (in this series)," Linda said in a phone interview yesterday. "That's why we are still here in Thunder Bay. We'll just watch on television instead.

"They played against each other in junior, too. It's not easy. Whatever happens to one, you always feel bad for the other one."

"They've been keeping in touch with us and with each other but they might not be talking (to each other) once the series starts," Linda said.

Marc is on record as saying the brothers won't be going out for dinners any time soon.

Jordan versus Marc is just another chapter in the remarkable story of hockey's modern-day first family. With older brother Eric, 23, having won a Stanley Cup ring with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and little brother Jared, 17, recently finishing his second OHL season with the Wolves, the Staals have taken the torch from the Sutter clan, which sent six to the NHL.

"Sometimes you can't believe it," Linda said.

"You think about the days when the boys were all playing on the outdoor rink, and it's amazing to see them now. Just amazing."


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