Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Pittsburgh Penguins

Hainsey adjusting in unique circumstances

by Michelle Crechiolo @PensInsideScoop / Penguins Team Reporter

After the Pens acquired Ron Hainsey from Carolina last Thursday, the veteran defenseman's first practice with the team was outside at Heinz Field on Friday.

From there, his first game with the team was the 2017 Stadium Series against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.

And after a day off Sunday, Hainsey's first indoor practice with the Pens on Monday at PPG Paints Arena had over 7,500 screaming students in the stands watching as part of the annual kids' Open Practice.

One wouldn't blame Hainsey if he wonders whether things will ever get back to normal with his new team.

"I think that he thinks we're going to have something planned for him every day," head coach Mike Sullivan said with a smile. "The organization does a terrific job as far as interacting with the community and these events are always fun for everybody involved. I know our players appreciate the support and it certainly livens up a practice when you have as many kids watching as we did today."

Hainsey's D partner Brian Dumoulin said that maybe in some way, all of the craziness has helped the blueliner adjust.

"Sometimes that's easier, you know? Just because that was our first practice outside too, it wasn't just his," Dumoulin said. "So he's jumping in a new situation, as were we. Sometimes that makes it kind of easier when there's funkiness and something that you can laugh at."

Hainsey admitted it's certainly been a unique experience so far.

"It's definitely a little different with a few different events, but we're getting to the point in the year where we're going to mostly be playing games here," he said. "So a couple different practices and an outdoor game, and on the road we go."

Hainsey is looking forward to the team's back-to-back games in Dallas on Tuesday and Chicago on Wednesday, which kicks off a grind of a March schedule - where the Pens will play 16 games during the calendar month.

"We have so many games coming up in March, and once we start playing every other day, that's when you start getting into it, getting into a rhythm," he said. "Myself personally, I kind of like playing every other day anyways. That'll be a time where I'll be able to get into a little bit better rhythm with all the guys here."

It's always a process to get adjusted, but one Hainsey is handling well.

"He's skated in every place we've ever skated at as Penguins, so he had a whirlwind few days there," said Nick Bonino, who has known Hainsey for years as they grew up in neighboring towns back in Connecticut. "It's obviously rare to have your first game outside. He's been around so long he handled it well, played a really good game and we're happy to have him."

View More