Heading home tomorrow

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 2:33 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- Jordan Staal has more than just hockey on his mind these days.

The second-year forward of the Pittsburgh Penguins is nursing a heavy heart after the recent death of his grandfather, John, who was 83.

Scheduled to play in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at the Wachovia Center, Staal plans to take a private jet to Thunder Bay tomorrow to be with his grieving family, then will return to Philadelphia to rejoin the Penguins by the end of the day.

"I talked to my parents about it," Jordan Staal said after the Penguins morning skate earlier today. "I want to be there. There are bigger things than hockey.

"(My grandfather) watched every single game of all four of us last year."

Jordan was referring to his three brothers -- Eric, a forward with the Carolina Hurricanes; Marc, a defenceman with the New York Rangers; and Jared, a forward with the OHL's Sudbury Wolves.

Eric Staal left Team Canada at the world championship to be with the family as well.

Jordan's whirlwind day tomorrow will be possible because of the efforts of former Penguin Mark Recchi, who has helped secure the plane that will take Jordan back to Canada. Jordan spent the season living in the guest house on Recchi's Pittsburgh-area property.


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