Though new Penguins forward Tanner Glass was in Pittsburgh to skate at CONSOL Energy Center for the first time on Tuesday, his teammates teased him as if he was somewhere else.
That’s because Glass just returned from Europe a few days ago, where he spent a few weeks playing for HC Banksa Bystrica of the Slovakia Extraliga League – and he’s still feeling the effects of traveling halfway around the world.
“I just got back on Sunday, so I’m still feeling a bit of the jetlag,” Glass said. “The guys were joking (saying) ‘was it Denver out there or was it Pittsburgh?’ It was good to be there. I just got back, so I’m just kind of settling in now.”
Glass, who signed a two-year, $2.2 million deal with Pittsburgh on the first day of free agency after spending the 2011-12 season with Winnipeg, is thrilled with the facilities that he now calls home.
“It’s a special place,” he said. “We’re extremely fortunate and lucky to have a building like this to call home and to come to work at every day.”
Though he may still be feeling a bit tired, now that Glass is here in Pittsburgh it’s time for him get to work learning the way his new team likes to play. While there isn’t as much time to adjust there would be with a shortened season, the 29-year-old veteran isn’t too worried about a rough transition period.
“It’s a pretty systems-heavy team, so there’s a lot to learn,” he said. “But I’m sure
I’ll grasp it pretty quickly here. I’ve been playing this game long enough that there’s nothing that’s too new or anything like that. Just refreshing things, learning the names for things and the terminology here is going to take a couple days. But we’ve got time.”
What did you know about this team before you came here?
Not a whole lot. I played against them in the Eastern Conference last year, so I know that it’s an up-tempo team, a team that likes to play quickly and speed through the neutral zone, things like that. Those are things I think my game fits well into. That’s kind of why I chose to come here.
Do you have a role in mind or will you wait and see what happens?
I’ve just got to come in and play my game, and whatever role I fall into, whatever the coaches deem as my role, is my role. My game hasn’t changed in 10-15 years now. I’ve just got to focus on what I do well and bring my tools and skillset to the table and let the coaches determine my role.
What’s a scouting report of your game?
I like to play a physical game; get my hits in. Good on the forecheck, solid defensively. The PK is something I’ve learned to hang my hat on the last couple years here. It’s definitely a big part of my game, too.
Why did you decide on Pittsburgh?
It’s a great team. I talked to the coaching staff and the management the morning of July 1 and I felt like they wanted me and were excited to have me here. That’s important to me, coming somewhere that you’re wanted and you feel that you’re going to have a chance to play.
Did you sign soon after they contacted you?
Within I guess probably an hour or maybe an hour and a half (of talking to them) the morning of. There was negotiation; just not a lot of time. There’s a lot of pressure on those mornings and things are happening quickly. It’s good to commit early, especially with a great organization like this.
So you played in Europe these past few weeks?
Yeah, I was in Slovakia for about three, three-and-a-half weeks. It was good; it was interesting. I’m really grateful for the organization over there to give me a chance to come in and play and sharpen up and get ready for the season. It was a good experience.
How does the style of play over there compare to the NHL?
It’s very different and not as structured. Not as defensive as it is here. It was a little bit free-flowing for my style of game. I don’t know if I fit into the Slovakia mold very well (laughs). But it was fun.
How does it feel to be back to work?
It feels great. It’s been a long, emotional journey this whole lockout, with a lot of ups and downs. It’s easy to get frustrated at times, but I’m glad we have something done and that we’re back to work.