CONSOL Energy Center had a new item hanging from the rafters on Wednesday afternoon. But it wasn’t a new Penguins banner.
It was the shoes and clothes of rookie defenseman Simon Despres
. The 20-year-old’s shoes, pants and leather jacket were hooked on a hanger and lowered on a wire about 30 feet above the ice.
“I was like ‘Aw, jeez.’ There was nothing I could do,” Despres said with a smile. “It was pretty funny though. That’s the best prank I’ve seen in my young career.”
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury
was baffled by Despres’ decision to hang his clothes in such an awkward place when there are clearly more logical alternatives.
“It’s a little bizarre. He should just put it in his locker instead of hanging it up there,” Fleury grinned. “We’ll show him where his locker is. There are hangers in the locker so he doesn’t have to go through the trouble of putting his clothes up there. If he does it every morning or game day that could get inconvenient.”
This isn’t the first issue Despres, Pittsburgh’s first-round pick (30th overall) in the 2009 NHL Draft, has had with his wardrobe. When the team was on the road in Carolina his dress shirt “went missing.” He was subsequently forced to wear a workout t-shirt with his suit jacket.
“That’s what rookies (go through),” Despres said. “There’s nothing you can do, you don’t want to try to look for who did it because you’ll look like a fool. You just take it and it will be over in a year.”
While Despres, who hails from Laval in the French-speaking province of Quebec, isn’t investigating the possible culprit, fellow blueliner Ben Lovejoy
thinks it may be one of his native-tongued teammates.
“I think it was a little French-on-French crime,” Lovejoy joked. “I don’t know which guy did it. I have an idea. It was funny.”
Although there were tight lips around the locker room as to who was responsible, all the Penguins were in awe of the elaborate scheme.
“It was impressive they were able to get that up there,” said Lovejoy, who himself was the victim of a hotel room prank
on HBO’s 24/7. “I’m interested to hear how they did it. It was pretty fun. I don’t know if they had a huge ladder or someone climbed into the rafters and slid it down, it was impressive.”
“I just talked to the rink manager,” Despres said. “He’s going to figure out how they put it up there in the first place.”Note
: Fleury gave a nice tidbit about a prank pulled on him a few years ago:
“I was leaving the practice rink and had some cans of pop and water bottles tied on a rope attached to my car. I was driving and people were looking at me. I didn’t know what they were looking at. I drove from Southpointe to home and saw the cans there. I said, ‘Oh my gosh.’ I think it’s funny though.”
Despres stares at his apparel