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New Penguins forward David Perron is familiar with the Penguins.
Growing up, he was a huge fan of former right winger Alexei Kovalev, arguably one of the most skilled players in franchise history.
The Penguins are hoping Perron, no slouch with handling the puck himself, can have a similiar impact on the Penguins. He was acquired from the Oilers today in exchange for right winger Rob Klinkhammer and a first-round pick in 2015.
Earlier today, he talked about coming to Pittsburgh.
What was your reaction to the trade?
"I think, first off, when you're in any kind of situation like we were in Edmonton, as tough as it was, you're still emotionally involved. It's always tough to leave any kind of situation. You're playing in the NHL and it's the best league in the world. I've met a lot of great people there and friends I'll keep forever. I know it sounds cliched but it's true. I've got to meet a lot of staff and coaches and trainers and coaches. I still had a lot of fun there. You do turn the page and you look at the opportunity that is presented to myself, I couldn't be more pumped. I'm really excited to get going here. I'll be looking to do anything to keep the team winning."
What is it like going from a last place team to a first place team?
"It's amazing. If you picture something in your head to try to get an opportunity to win the [Stanley] Cup, I can't see too many chances better than that. Actually, I don't think there's any. So it's something that I'm extremely lucky and happy to be a part of. I know a couple of guys over there. I know [assistant coach] Gary Agnew. I'm just going to try and come in and fit in and do anything I can to keep it going for this team. They're obviously doing the right things to win. They've been doing that for a little while now. Again, I'm just going to try to keep the ball rolling."
What is the plan for you in terms of traveling to Pittsburgh and getting into the lineup?
"We'll see what the visa situation is. Hopefully, it's not too long. I'm still hoping that I play tomorrow. It's not going to happen tonight. I'm flying 5:30 [p.m.] Denver time. I don't know what's next. I'm just trying to catch up to everything and getting myself organized."
Did you chat with any of the management or coaches here about how they might use you on the ice?
"No. It's probably too early. We'll wait to meet in person and see if I can even play tomorrow. I talked to [general manager Jim Rutherford] and he did mention [center Sidney Crosby] and [center Evgeni] Malkin. I'm just happy to be in that kind of situation. As you mentioned earlier, going from last place to a playoff team is an incredible opportunity. It won't matter who I'm playing with. I'm going to come in, work hard and do my part."
You were playing primarily on a third line in Edmonton this season.
"Yeah, I was playing first on the third line and I guess a little bit and everything."
If you do end up with Crosby or Malkin, that would seem to be an upgrade.
"Yeah, it's going to be incredible. Definitely. I think the challenge, as I'm thinking about it and we'll see when it does happen, I'm just going to try and hopefully bring my game and not worry too much about trying to look for them every single time when I have the puck which is probably natural a little bit when you're playing with those kind of guys, top players."
What do you know about the Penguins? Everyone know about the star players here but what what do you know about the details of how they play? Or their history?
"They do like to play with a lot of speed, obviously making plays. And they do play the right way. They've been playing a winning kind of hockey for a while. As far as the history, the Penguins are probably the team I followed the most growing up. [Former right winger Alexei] Kovalev was my favorite player growing up. Obviously, I don't even need to mention the other guys. [Mario] Lemieux, [Jaromir] Jagr, [Martin] Straka, [Robert] Lang, [Jan] Hrdina. All those guys in the early 2000s. I did follow Pittsburgh a lot. It was a team I enjoyed watching."
You've only missed four games over the past three seasons. Before that, you missed 96 games over two seasons due to a concussion.
"It feels great. Prior to the concussion, I think I never missed a game for any kind of injury. I think my first year, I was a healthy scratch maybe one time. Second year, maybe one time. Since then, I had that one big injury and other than that, I've been extremely healthy. It's definitely something, I hope it stays that way for sure."
How do you describe yourself as a player?
"I'll bring some skills. I'll bring some work ethic. I'll work hard along the boards trying to win every single battle. Protecting the puck. Making the right play at the right time, whether it's making a nice pass or a chip into the zone. I'm just going to come in and fit in and do whatever to keep this thing going that they got. The best thing for me is ... I've played in the league eight years but I know I will learn a lot from those guys. They have a lot of guys with over 400 games in the NHL. I think when I looked up earlier, it was 10 or 12 or something like that. It was extremely high. It's something I'll look forward to share some knowledge with those guys and get better as a player and as a team."
(Photo: Derek Leung/Getty Images)