Even though Eric Boguniecki doesn’t know much about the Penguins, he’s happy to be one.
Pittsburgh acquired Boguniecki from the St. Louis Blues on Friday in exchange for defenseman Steve Poapst.
“I am excited to play in Pittsburgh,” Boguniecki said. “Sometimes a player needs that – you need a new journey or chapter in life. I feel this is it and I am looking forward to the challenge.”
Boguniecki, a 30-year-old right winger, was stunned to learn he had been traded Friday night.
“When you’re losing like we have been [in St. Louis], anything is possible,” he said. “It’s part of the business. It’s a new start for me – a new look and I am excited to start a new part of my life in Pittsburgh.”
He will get a chance to start the new chapter immediately. He is scheduled to catch a flight from St. Louis to Pittsburgh on Saturday morning and be in uniform when the Penguins take on Colorado at 7:30 p.m. at Mellon Arena.
“I think that’s the plan – fly all day and play [Saturday] night,” said Boguniecki via cell phone Friday night en route to pick up his equipment at the Savvis Center. “I am scrambling around here to get packed, but I have to stay focused and relax.
“I am not going to change anything with the way I play – I am just going to go out and play,” he continued. “If I can provide whatever – a goal or an assist or just energy – I will do my best to try to bring that to the team.”
The gritty 5-foot-8, 192-pound winger had five points (1+4) in nine games with the Blues (5-17-3), who rank last in the NHL with 13 points. However, Boguniecki was just starting to feel comfortable after missing the team’s first 14 games recovering from shoulder surgery this summer. He had an assist in Thursday night’s 5-4 loss at Tampa Bay.
“The trade definitely caught me off-guard, especially with the way my situation was here and getting back going again,” he said.
In the 2003-04 season, Boguniecki missed 53 games – including the team’s first 35 – with the shoulder injury. After seeing numerous specialists, Boguniecki finally found out he needed surgery to repair the injury.
“A couple years ago, I hurt my shoulder and it turned out I needed surgery over [this] summer. I was frustrated it took that long to find out I needed surgery,” he said. “It set me back for this year. I wasn’t able to have a training camp. [Thursday] night was my ninth game and I am just starting to feel like I am getting back to being myself again.”
Boguniecki, who spent the past four seasons in the Western Conference in St. Louis, comes to a team in need of a spark. The Penguins (7-15-6) have lost six-straight games and are last in the Eastern Conference with 20 points.
“I am really not too familiar with what’s going on there, maybe it’s a good thing,” he said.
Coincidentally, Boguniecki, who has 65 points in 129 career NHL games, will have a chance to play his old teammates in less than a week. Following Saturday’s game, Pittsburgh embarks on a two-game roadtrip to Detroit on Monday and St. Louis on Tuesday.
“Obviously, it’s definitely going to be weird,” he said. “You come back and you were in that locker room a couple days ago. You develop friendships and now you have to go to war against them. Obviously, you have something to prove to the team that traded you. It’s a business and it’s part of the game. I am just going to go out there and play hard. Whatever happens on ice, stays on ice.”