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Hard Work Pays Off For Nasreddine

by Joe Sager / Pittsburgh Penguins

(Pens TV- Nasreddine Interview )

A nameplate never looked so good to Alain Nasreddine.

When the Penguins’ roster was trimmed to 22 players on Monday, probably no one was happier than the veteran defenseman to see his name still above his stall in the dressing room.

It appears Nasreddine will join the Penguins to Carolina on Friday when they open the season.

“Yeah it’s what I worked toward all summer. I worked hard, came here and tried to have the best camp I could. I think I had a pretty good camp,” Nasreddine said. “It’s good to be on the team to start the season. I don’t take anything for granted – a lot of things can change throughout the season, so I have to play with an edge and I have to come here every morning ready to battle and ready to play hard and work hard and go from there.”

Nasreddine played in 44 games with the Penguins a year ago. Before that, the 32-year-old had played in 24 NHL games, scattered over several seasons. Just like every other season, he knew a roster spot would not be handed to him this year. That’s why he started over and worked hard to earn a spot on the Penguins’ defense.

“I’m 32 and that’s what I worked for all my life. Finally, I got the break last year and made the most out of it,” he said. “Wouldn’t you know it – I am starting this year in Pittsburgh, so it’s a great experience and a lot of fun for me. All the hard work is paying off and I couldn’t be happier.”

Nasreddine knows what he does best – and that’s play a reliable defensive game.

“Yeah, same as last year. When I get the chance, I am going to play hard and good defensively,” he said. “I am not the guy who is going to put up 50 points in a season, but if I can play well defensively, especially on the penalty kill, when I get the chance, that is my bread and butter and I can do the job.”

Even though he’s one of the “older” guys on a young Penguins squad, Nasreddine fits in well in the Penguins lockerroom. As the captain at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, he skated with many of the current Penguins while they worked their way up the organizational depth chart.

“It’s a lot of fun. I was in Wilkes-Barre with a lot of these guys. To see a lot of these guys make the jump to the NHL and make an impact on an NHL team is nice,” he said. “It’s nice to watch. I think of guys like Talbot, Whitney, Fleury, Armstrong – those are all guys I played with and I saw them grow up. So, it’s nice to see them have a major impact in the NHL, especially on this team.”

And, he doesn’t mind helping them and vice versa.

“I have known a lot of these guys for a while, and some since their first year. I know them and they know me,” he said. “For me, I am not going to change anything. I am the same guy – if I can help them out, good. In the same way, I appreciate their presence. They have been good to me and they all root for me. It’s always nice to be in a room where you’re wanted.”

Nasreddine looks forward to contributing with the Penguins this season and helping them achieve another successful campaign.

“There are a lot of high expectations on this team. We have to put that aside and just focus on what we can do and what we have to do,” he said. “We had a lot of fun last year and it’s pretty much the same group of guys this year, so the chemistry is good. The atmosphere is good in the room and guys enjoy being with each other. We just have to keep building and keep climbing.”

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