The Penguins were in Buffalo on Nov. 7 with a night off. The following evening they had a contest against the Sabres, but that night they had a unique opportunity.
The Sabres were hosting the Edmonton Oilers and the Penguins coaching staff attended the game to see some live NHL action.
“It was one time during the year that we had a chance to watch two teams play live while we were in that city,” Penguins head coach Mike Johnston said.
The Sabres had a 2-1 lead late in the third period. Then Oilers forward David Perron threw a backhander toward the net. The rebound popped out in the slot to Mark Arcobello, who batted it home to tie the game at 2-2. The Oilers would go on to win 3-2.
Coincidently two months later, both players that connected on that goal are now on the Penguins’ roster.
On Wednesday afternoon the Penguins announced that they claimed Arcobello on waivers from Nashville.
“I was really impressed by him in that game,” Johnston recalled. “He’s a smart player, has a good stick, manages the puck really well. Those are some of the things I saw in his game.”
Arcobello, who was traded from Edmonton to Nashville in late December, was placed on waivers Tuesday. And of all the places he could have gone, he was delighted to end up in Pittsburgh.
“I knew at (noon) today I would find out either way if I was claimed or going to the minors,” Arcobello said. “Anytime you can join a roster with such great players on it and big names it’s definitely an honor. I’m excited to get to town and get going.”
Arcobello, 26, posted eight goals and 13 points in 40 games this season with Edmonton and Nashville.
Though he is small – 5-foot-8, 172 pounds – that doesn’t mean he won’t get down and dirty on the boards.
“I’m a smaller guy, but I can play physical at times,” Arcobello said. “I can add some offense too. I have a little bit of versatility to my game where I can play up and down the lineup. I try to be as smart as I can and be responsible both offensively and defensively.”
Luckily for Arcobello, who is flying to Pittsburgh Wednesday, he will see a familiar face in the Penguins’ dressing room with Perron.
“Having Perron around is definitely going to help. Coming to Nashville I didn’t know anyone. I learned a lot of new names and with David he’ll help me get acclimated a little bit quicker.”
Arcobello is excited for the opportunity of a fresh start with a talented team and a chance to contend for a championship. He wants the journey to begin as soon as possible.
“Anytime you come to a new team you want to make a good first impression and get in the lineup as quickly as possible,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to it and can’t wait for the opportunity.”