All the latest Pittsburgh Penguins news from “Inside the locker room” …
1) Does Simon Despres have a bad work ethic?
Shortly after GM Jim Rutherford has traded defenseman Simon Despres to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for defenseman Ben Lovejoy, Pittsburgh’s media once again came up with the old “Simon Despres is not liked” – statements.
Does Simon Despres really have a bad work ethic? Is he really not liked amongst any coaching and management staff?
Sure, there is always the possibility that there are more “conflicts” going on behind the scenes, which lead to the coaching and management staff not trusting a play anymore. But that is still nothing more than pure speculation until it would be officially declared by the Penguins organization. Therefor let’s just keep it at that:
Simon Despres is a very talented player. He didn’t have to work hard in order to be successful in the Junior Leagues. You can’t blame a young kid, if he still takes it easy, once he enters the pro level of his career. Sure, there are exceptions like Olli Maatta, who work as hard & professional from day one, as pro athletes should. But many young players initially have to learn this work ethic!
One of the reasons that Simon Despres got the stamp of “being a player with a bad work ethic”:
Two years ago it was reported by multiple sources, that Simon Despres came to Penguins’ training camp out of shape! Despres never really got rid of this “out of shape” – stamp, even though these reports were denied by former HC Dan Bylsma, as well as by many other reporters. So again: Simon Despres did NOT come to training camp out of shape two years ago (2013 Training Camp). He was ill on Day 1, but insisted on taking part in the skating drills!
In my opinion, you can’t use Dan Bylsma & Ray Shero in order to draw any kind of conclusion in that regard. They didn’t trust ANY young player, no matter what! Sole exception: Olli Maatta. But Maatta mostly played like an experienced defenseman and not like a rookie.
Simon Despres played consistently great during the first half of the season. And that despite the fact, that he played with Rob Scuderi. Yes, Simon Despres is the reason that Rob Scuderi played some better hockey than he did last season & not vice versa! It’s furthermore true, that Despres had a couple of tough games during the last couple of weeks! But hey, let’s remember: He is still a very young player! He didn’t get the chance to battle through bad games during the entire tenure of Dan Bylsma and Ray Shero – a chance every young player needs in order to improve! So you still have to view him like a rookie in that regard! The Penguins however wanted a more experienced defenseman! With Olli Maatta, Derrick Pouliot, Scott Harrington & Brian Dumoulin they still have a lot of promising young defenseman, more than the Penguins can play at the NHL level at the same time on a consistent basis! That’s the reason Jim Rutherford could afford to trade one young defenseman in order to get a more experienced player! If there were further reasons & conflicts behind the scenes (like reported by some indeed reliable sources), which also led to parting ways with Simon Despres … ?!? We’ll probably never know for sure …
So how about we just wish a player, who was part of the Pittsburgh Penguins organization for a long time, all the best, instead of speculating about things which directly affect a player’s personality?!
2) Sidney Crosby would love to put on goalie equipment, if both goalies would get hurt during the same game!
However, I doubt the coaching staff would let him …
4) Penguins players reactions to the Trade Deadline Moves
Kris Letang on Ben Lovejoy: I think he grew a lot as a player down there in Anaheim. He got put in situations where he played big minutes and they improved his game, so it’s fun to have him back.
Evgeni Malkin on Ben Lovejoy: It’s good. I think people love him, he’s a good guy. I haven’t seen how he played the last two years. It’s a long time. But I know he’s a little bit tough on the ice, good shot. We lost a couple players and it’s always tough because it’s all my friends. But we look forward and it’s hockey. It’s tough because every year, we lose a couple players. But I’m glad, I know Lovejoy a long time and I’m glad he’s back.
5) How do the Penguins feel about the team they have the rest of the way?
Evgeni Malkin: I’m always happy (with the team). Of course I’m happy with how we play the last four games. If we still play the same lines, still focus, it’s a good team and we have a great chance to win. Just play hard every game.
Is there still anybody who thinks that Geno is unhappy and hasn’t bought into the new system yet??
Christian Ehrhoff: I think we’ve got a great-looking roster. We just got to the point where most of the guys are healthy and we can really work on the details as a group here down the stretch. And hopefully come playoff time, we’ll be at our best and I definitely believe that we can go a long way.
Kris Letang: I’ve always been confident with the team. I think we had tons of injuries this year, so it was tough to have a full lineup. At times we were missing key guys. I think right now, we’re going to hit the playoffs with good chemistry with all the guys all together.
Mike Johnston: The management group has made some moves throughout the year to try and touch up some areas we talked about before, losing (Pascal) Dupuis and losing Maatta, to try and make sure we accommodated for that. And then going forward, I really like our depth up front right now. And now we’ve added two experienced defensemen, and that’s going to be important. But it’s getting all of the pieces together now that (Maxim) Lapierre’s been here a little bit, (Daniel) Winnik is starting to fit in and now we have a couple defensemen. So it’s a matter of getting all of the pieces together. We like our lines, we like our line combinations, the depth – now we have to do the same thing on defense.
6) Ben Lovejoy’s and Ian Cole’s reactions
I really like Lovejoy’s passion for the Penguins. He’s so proud to wear our Logo and play for the Penguins. We definitely need that kind of proudness for the playoffs!
– Benedikt Bäumler