Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin joined members of the media on Tuesday afternoon via a WebEx video chat. Here are some of the highlights from the conversation…
*Perhaps the best quote from Dumoulin came in the form of the possibility winning a Stanley Cup in an empty arena. As Dumoulin said, even if the arena is empty, there is no parade and there is no day with the Cup for a player, "They can't take it away from you."
Dumoulin admits that his passion to win is still as strong as ever, and will play anywhere if it means competing for a championship.
"Winning the Stanley Cup, no matter where, if we're playing in my driveway that'd be fine with me if we were playing for the Stanley Cup," he said. "You don't need much more motivation other than that. That's what it is for me. Without fans or without the stuff involved with Stanley Cup playoffs it would piggyback to my childhood when we were just playing out there for fun. Back when we were mites, squirts and we're going to these NHL arenas. There was no one in the crowd, but guess what, we still wanted to win the game as much as possible. That's where my mindset is at. The ultimate goal is the Stanley Cup, still."
*Dumoulin understands that once the NHL starts again, there will be little downtime for the players and coaches. So, the new father is taking this opportunity now to spend as much time with his wife, Kayla, and 6-month old son, Brayden.
"It's very rare for (NHL dads) to spend this amount of time with their kids," he said. "I'm very fortunate that I've been able to spend a lot of time with him. I'm not taking anything for granted because I know when the season does start it's our duty to go back and play games. In the meantime, I've been really cherishing my time with my wife and my son, and definitely taking advantage of all the opportunities and be around them as much as I can."
*Dumoulin suffered a lacerated tendon in his left ankle, which kept him out of the lineup for three months. During that time, he was able to see many of Brayden's early developments. But, Dumoulin did finally return to play, though he only appeared in five games. Those five games, though, were critical to his psyche.
"I'm grateful I was able to get those five games in before the break," he said. "Just mentally, I think it's going to benefit me being able to know what my routine was, what I had to do to get back. I felt like when I was playing I was getting back to being a very solid player. It showed me that I could still come back from an injury like that. I've never been out that long with an injury in my career."
*While in quarantine, Dumoulin has enjoyed his other two passions: cooking and wine. He credited former television personality Anthony Bourdain, who passed away in 2018, for sparking his love of cooking and wine. "He was the master, he was the best."
And once he is released from quarantine, Dumoulin is looking forward to his first meal outside of the house.
"I love different restaurants, especially in Pittsburgh, they have a good food scene coming on," Dumoulin said. "I look forward to sitting outside, relaxing and eating food not cooked by me."
*Dumoulin was asked a few questions about being a defensive defenseman. Perhaps his best take on it was the way he gauges how well he's playing - since points aren't always a high priority.
"I'm pretty honest with myself. I know if I played a good game or bad game," he said. "I don't really need to look at points or stats. I have a good memory shift by shift about what happened, if I got beat or missed a chance. I mentally know if I played a good game or bad game. You have to be honest with yourself because that's the only way you can get better, at least with my game."
Dumoulin said the biggest stat for him to gauge his game is "if we win or lose. I'd say that's the biggest stat for me.