“The way I felt, probably to try to deny it, did not want to feel that way. Yeh, it did feel the same way, the exact same way it felt before, just did not want to believe it.”
Pascal Dupuis, on if he felt the same way he did last winter when he had his first blood clot.
When I heard that Pascal Dupuis didn’t travel to Montreal for Tuesday’s game, I went back and isolated on his play against the Rangers on Saturday. His skating looked good, he didn’t miss a shift; about the only thing he could’ve done better is shoot the puck more! (Something said about every Penguins player not named Patric Hornqvist).
What stood out about Mr. Dupuis was his graciousness during an in-game interview with Root Sports analyst, Bob Errey. Errey was stationed between the benches for Saturday’s tilt and asked Dupuis about his speed and forecheck.
Bob Errey: “Well Pascal, that first penalty kill has been absolutely fantastic again.”
Pascal Dupuis: “Yeh, again, blocking shots, giving 200 feet, that’s what you’ve got to do, pay the price and obviously the goaltender has to be back there and be huge for us.”
Typical Dupuis response, totally unselfish, but it gets even better.
Errey: “Who’s leading the speed on the forecheck, you or Crosby? You guys are flying.”
Dupuis, with a smile: “Yeh, we’re feeling good right now so we just gotta keep going here.”
Unwilling to brag about his speed or take any credit, Dupuis smoothly deflects the question personal credit and puts the team first.
This is a guy who can play on any line, never complains about his situation. Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back, LeGarrette Blount, could learn a lot from Dupuis.
Through the season’s first 16 games, Dupuis scored six goals and 11 points. Last Friday in Toronto, he was credited with both Pittsburgh goals on eight shots in a 2-1 victory against the Maple Leafs. He’ll have that as a nice memory over the next six-plus months of his recovery.
Dupuis averaged 16:38 TOI per game, 11th most on the team. His power-play time went up from 17 seconds/game in 2013-14 to 1:46/game. Dupuis’s three power-play points in October were already one more than he had in 39 games last year. But perhaps his biggest contribution comes on the penalty kill. Every year since the winger was traded to Pittsburgh in 2007-08 he’s finished among the team’s top-four forwards in minutes on the PK. His on-ice contributions will be hard to replace.
Ex-teammate Ben Lovejoy, now of the Anaheim Ducks, had this to say of Dupuis.
“He pushed the five or six guys who were on the ice every day at Southpointe [during the 2012-13 NHL lockout],” Lovejoy told the Pittsburgh Post-gazette. “But for me, he did more than that. He went above and beyond to be complimentary of my game, which gave me a ton of confidence, and saw in me what kind of player I hoped I could become. I’m not sure if he does that with everyone, but the whole room has incredible respect for Pascal.”
In case you’re unfamiliar with what a pulmonary embolism can do, click here.
PE is a serious condition that can:
— Damage part of your lung because of a lack of blood flow to your lung tissue. This damage may lead to pulmonary hypertension (increased pressure in the pulmonary arteries).
— Cause low oxygen levels in your blood.
— Damage other organs in your body because of a lack of oxygen.
If a blood clot is large, or if there are many clots, PE can cause death.
Former GM Ray Shero left the cup boards barren in terms of offensive prospects near the NHL level. Kasperi Kapanen has five goals and nine points in nine games for KalPa Kuopio while Oskar Sundqvist has three goals and six points in 12 tilts for Skelleftea AIK. It might be unfair to throw either of these players into the Penguins mix in the middle of the season.
With Pittsburgh placing Dupuis on Long-Term Injured Reserve, Cap Geek projects the Penguins with $4,185,831 room currently under the salary cap and $5,297,198 at the trade deadline. The Pens will get immediate relief on the pro-rated portion of Dupuis’ $3.75 mill contract.
Here are some trade targets.
Brandon Saad ($764,167, will be restricted FA after 2013-14), Chicago Blackhawks: Ah, the one that got away. The Blackhawks have less cap space available ($413,775) than Pittsburgh. Anything going Chicago’s way would have to come from the AHL or juniors or international play. The ‘Hawks have prospects already on offense like Teuvo Teravainen and Ryan Hartman. Defensively, the team has Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson both signed long-term, but Brent Seabrook could be gone after next year. Recently injured Trevor Van Riemsdyk is in the mix, but if the Pens are going to match up with Chicago, it’ll likely be with some combination of defensive products.
If there’s a team in the league who could miss a forward like Saad, it’s the Blackhawks. They’re pretty well stacked up front. Saad has had an inconsistent start, which could also help sway thinking.
TJ Oshie ($4.175 mill, contract thru 2016-17), David Backes ($4.5 mill, thru 15-16), St. Louis Blues: How much do the Blues believe in the first six weeks of Vladimir Tarasenko, Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz? That trio has been the hottest in the NHL recently. Backes and Oshie have both missed time with concussions. I’m not sure what St. Louis might be looking for. They’re set on the blue line with Shattenkirk, Pietrangelo and Bouwmeester.
The Blues are $2.4 mill under the cap right now. They have one of the better goalie prospects in Jake Allen. The Pens should at least put their feelers out to see where they stand in terms of established vets versus youth. I’m unconvinced center Patrik Berglund could help the Pens enough to include him as a target.
Teddy Purcell ($4.5 mill thru 15-16), David Perron ($3.185 mill thru 15-16), Edmonton Oilers: If Rutherford wants to go big, then he might look at say, Jordan Eberle. He’s due $6 mill thru 18-19 and that’s the shortest contract length of Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins and Hall. Purcell is an offensive enigma who had some success in Tampa Bay. His contract is over after next year. Surely whatever Pittsburgh is interested with the Oilers, they have to consider it. Yakopov ($925,000) will be due a big raise after this season and I’m not sure that’s a gamble worth taking right now.
Patrick Marleau ($6.66 mill thru 16-17), Joe Pavelski ($6 mill thru 18-19) SJ Sharks: Marleau is Dupuis’ age and he has two more years left on his deal. He’d make for a nice deadline pickup but the two additional years are killers. Pavelski has more NHL time left, but the four and a half years left on his deal is a big commitment. Too bad Pavelski didn’t have Marleau’s terms. My favorite on the Sharks is Tommy Wingels, but San Jose wrapped him up since last year would be unlikely to include him in a deal as a secondary part.
Matt Cooke ($2.5 mill thru 15-16), Minnesota Wild: The Wild don’t need him and with Steve Downie, Blake Comeau, the Pens probably don’t either. However, his contract is reasonable and he would bring something into the dressing room. Whether the positives outweigh the negatives is the eternal question with Cooke.
Evander Kane ($5.25 mill thru 17-18), Andrew Ladd ($4.40 mill thru 15-16), Winnipeg Jets: Kane is higher on the list of many Pens fans than most others. He has skill and toughness. I think he gets hurt too much and plays when he wants too, but a change of scenery could boost his level. Ladd is a player that means a lot to the Jets. I would be surprised if he gets dealt, but that contract is very attractive.
Other names I’ve heard are Mikkel Boedker — $2.55 mill thru 14-15 (Arizona), Sam Gagner $3.2 mill thru 15-16 (Arizona), Mason Raymond $3.15 mill thru 16-17 (Calgary).
General manager Jim Rutherford won’t be afraid to make a deal. In fact, I think he’s more likely to pull the trigger than former GM Ray Shero. Does he feel Pittsburgh needs to boost the top-six or does he move Beau Bennett there and give him some sort of “try out?”
As horrible as it is to lose Dupuis, that he went diagnosed in November rather than February or March gives the Pens time to figure out what they want to do.
Pascal Dupuis press conference, courtesy of Pittsburgh Penguins