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A Perfect Fit

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
When Pascal Dupuis came to Pittsburgh from Atlanta along with Marian Hossa at the trade deadline in 2008, he probably didn’t imagine he’d still be a Penguin over five years from that point.

Dupuis with the Stanley Cup in 2009. (Getty Images)
But that’s exactly the case, as Dupuis signed a two-year contract with the Penguins on Tuesday that will keep him with the team through the 2012-13 season.

Dupuis chose to forego potential unrestricted free agency to stay in Pittsburgh because the Laval, Quebec native and his family – wife Carole-Lyne, daughters Maeva, Zoe, and Lola and son Kody – have firmly planted their roots in the area.

“It’s mainly because of the team and the city,” Dupuis said of his motivation to re-sign with the Penguins. “We really love Pittsburgh. The kids are in school there, and we love the schools. We love the people. We love our neighbors. We love our house. … I’ve got four kids and everybody loves it in Pittsburgh.

“It was the only place we wanted to go.”

On the ice, Dupuis has thrived in Pittsburgh since his arrival over three years ago, recording 115 points (49G-66A) and a plus-26 rating in 249 regular-season games. He has also added 16 points (5G-11A) in 56 playoff contests, winning a Stanley Cup in 2009 (and helping his team to the Final the year before).

The versatile winger – who has missed just a combined two games over the past two seasons – chipped in his share of offense in 2010-11 while seamlessly meshing with any combination of linemates head coach Dan Bylsma paired him with, scoring 17 goals while playing anywhere from the first to the fourth line.

“Whoever they want me to play with in the lineup, I think I can adjust,” Dupuis said. “It’s a matter of believing in the guy next to you, in the system and in your teammates.”

Dupuis can play a number of roles for the Penguins, but his main duty is to be a strong two-way forward – which he does with energy and passion.

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Not only does Dupuis pressure relentlessly on the forecheck and generally wreak havoc in the offensive zone, but he also uses his explosive speed to backcheck diligently and chip in defensively – never shying away from physical contact or from blocking shots.

Dupuis skating during warmups. (Getty Images)
Basically, Dupuis is a perfect fit for Bylsma’s system – wearing teams down by maintaining puck possession in the offensive zone and imposing their physical will on the opposition, all while being defensively responsible.

“The way Dan coaches, I think it helps my game,” Dupuis said. “It helps elevating my game with the way he wants to play. … (The system) suits me well, I think.”

Dupuis has also developed into one of the team’s top penalty killers. Last season, he recorded a team-best four shorthanded markers while helping Pittsburgh finish the 2010-11 campaign with the league’s No. 1-ranked penalty kill for the first time in franchise history.

But Dupuis attributes any individual success he may be discovering on the penalty kill as being the end result of a team effort.

“I think we grew as a unit,” he said. “It’s not only me personally. … I think the way we adjusted, the way we prepared for other teams – I think that’s what we all learned. … Not only on the ice, but off the ice, getting ready for opponents.”

In addition to his on-ice contributions, Dupuis provides a strong locker-room presence. He possesses that invaluable leadership that comes with having played 668 regular-season games and 76 playoff contests over his nine-year career.

“I’ve been through quite a bit in my career, a lot of ups and downs,” he said. “I was young before (laughs). But now I almost have 700 games, so I have a lot of experience.”

Now that he and his family are settled in Pittsburgh, Dupuis can fully focus his attention on helping his team raise that coveted silver chalice.

"On my end here, I’m working out,” he said. “We all have the same goal in mind. That’s to play together as a unit, play together as a team and win another Cup."

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