Pascal Dupuis wanted to be playing in the postseason more than anything. And Sidney Crosby
’s preferred right winger and beloved locker room presence, sidelined since December with a knee injury, was sorely missed both on the ice and off.
But as much as Dupuis wanted to be on the ice with his teammates, there wasn’t anything he could do about his situation other than continue to recover and rehab after undergoing surgery in February. His focus was not on this past season, but the next one – and working to be ready for training camp come September.
“I definitely would have wanted to be out there and wanted to battle with the guys,” said the speedy, versatile winger. “It’s the best time of year to play hockey. What I bring to the game I think (is suited for) playoff hockey. But I don’t know, you can’t go back and say what if this guy did that or that. It’s done now. For me, anyway. My focus has been on September.”
Dupuis, 34, said he hopes to be ready for training camp, which will take place about seven months post-surgery. Is there any doubt in his mind that he’ll be ready by the time games get underway in October?
“Not at all,” he replied.
Dupuis, who signed a four-year contract with the Penguins on July 2, was given a 6-8 month timetable for recovery after undergoing knee surgery on Feb. 12. He was hurt Dec. 23 in Ottawa when linemate Crosby fell into his leg as the result of a hip check from Senators defenseman Marc Methot.
Dupuis waited over six weeks to have the surgery because he had actually torn his MCL as well as his ACL, and was trying to get that part of his knee healed before going under the knife in hopes they wouldn’t have to touch it. Unfortunately, his MCL did not heal the way they hoped it would, so the doctors had to reconstruct that along with his ACL.
Now, over three months into his recovery, Dupuis said his rehab has been going “good, really good.”
Dupuis has already began bike riding, saying as soon as he could bend his leg to the degrees he needed to go around with it, he jumped on it. And since he can’t run yet, riding the bike has been a big part of his rehab.
Dupuis plans to remain in Pittsburgh until he is able to begin skating. Once his knee reacts well to that, Dupuis hopes to return to his offseason home in Blainville, Quebec and continue rehabbing there as he aims to be ready to go by the shorter end of his timetable.
“Obviously it’s a long process, but it’s feeling great,” Dupuis said. “Aiming for six (months). The way it’s feeling right now, it feels great. I’m right on schedule, so it looks good for camp.”