I just want to touch on this, because this is one of the things that makes me sick about the NHL.
The punch, overall, was very mild. Was it worthy of a match penalty? Without a doubt. The officials agreed, and sent Staal to the locker room early, and rightfully so. So why has there been so much support in favor of Staal? Let's review the "expert" arguments.
First, most say "Staal got elbowed in the head, what do you think he would do?" First, at most, the Penguin on Staal's jersey is the only one who took brain damage on Prust's elbow. Second, 10, not one or two, BUT TEN players were involved in that "skirmish" and the only one to throw a punch was Staal. The only glove to come off was Boyle's right hand (or left, I'm not watching the vid again) glove before he thought better of attacking a Penguin, as in the new NHL, that penalty comes with the sentence of death. Last, can we please stop hearing about how Staal is a clean player? He may well be, but he threw a punch at a guy who hit a man playing the puck, who defended himself when Staal crossed a zone to attack him, and whose hands were at his side when the punch was thrown. It is a dirty play, no way around it.
Last thing I want to mention is what would have happened if Avery threw that punch at a Penguin player. Milbury would have demanded his immediate hanging, and NHL Network would have demanded Avery taken out of hockey. Yet, the elbow Avery took from Orpik when he was nowhere near the puck (yet we see superfluous interference calls for SOOO much less) was incredibly worse than the "elbow" Staal received from Prust. If Avery had gotten up and socked Orpik, how many of these "experts" would have come out in his favor, saying "Did you see that elbow to Avery's head? He had to sock the guy."? My guess is none.
In closing, I guess I just hate the bias the Pens get for being the team that has Sidney Crosby. I don't really care if Staal gets suspended, the punch wasn't awful, and while deserving the game dismissal, the final say lies with Campbell. But, for me, there has to be some kind of punishment. I have no support for a player who throws a punch with a glove on, but is a player who would most likely refuse a fight with Prust, straight up.