A confident and slightly larger Simon (It's "Sy-Mun" not "See-mone" by the way) Despres chatted with the media yesterday during the first day of the Penguins' prospect development camp yesterday. Despres, the team's first-round pick in 2009, didn't sound like an individual who was going to settle for anything less than an NHL roster spot out of training camp:
What's different from his first camp with the Penguins:
"Well this year when I came into camp, I knew what to expect. I’m more confident."
On his first season as a professional:
"It’s what I’ve been dreaming for all my life. It’s what I’ve been working for. You’ve got to keep working to get there."
On his last season with Saint John of the QMJHL:
"Well I think we had a good team last year. Confidence for me was a big issue. And it went really high (last) year. It’s always fun to be on the winning team. The atmosphere in our room was good. It was fun to go to the rink."
On his bulkier frame:
"Yeah, I’ve been working out a little bit."
Hardest part of the development camp:
"First day. A bit nervous. You want to do better than last year. You’re scared about your body fat, you know? You try to eat healthy your last days before coming here."
What part of his game has he worked on this summer:
"I’ve been working on my shot this summer a little bit. Shooting on goalies."
His best shot:
"I shoot a lot from the blue line, but give me a chance in the slot and I’ll bury it."
His reaction to the Penguins signing defensemen Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek on July 1:
"I didn’t really have one."
How does their signings impact his goals this season:
"It gives me a little bit more motivation to work harder and try to earn my spot more if they didn’t sign them."
(Photo: First-Bob Donaldson/Post-Gazette; Second-Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)