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McDonald Earning His Opportunities

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
Colin McDonald’s offensive talents are not a fluke.

The forward had a breakout season with Oklahoma City of the American Hockey League last year after posting 42 goals and 58 points in 80 games and earning a berth in the AHL All-Star Game.

McDonald signed with the Penguins organization over the summer and he’s continued to build on his offensive abilities. He’s the leading scorer for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with 28 points (8G-20A) and a plus-17 rating in 32 games.

Though McDonald’s goals aren’t approaching the 42 he scored last year, his assists have sky rocketed as he develops into a complete scoring threat on the ice and better all-around player.

“I’ve always believed in my ability to score, but that’s not my focus,” McDonald said. “I try to be complete all around player. I just want to validate that.”

Validation came by way of the AHL, which named him, and teammate Simon Despres, to the Eastern Conference Team for the 2012 American Hockey League All-Star Classic Jan. 29-30 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., his second consecutive All-Star appearance.

“It’s always exciting. I appreciate it even more because of the path that I’ve taken and developed into the player that I am over the last two years,” McDonald said. “To be named to the All-Star Team again in back-to-back years makes it extra special.”

McDonald wasn’t originally scouted as a scoring threat in the NHL. Instead, the Edmonton Oilers, the club the originally drafted him 51st overall in 2003, placed him more in a role player spot while developing him in the AHL.

“I was mainly a third- or fourth-line guy with no power play time,” he said. “I was in that role until my breakout last year. I’m glad to prove last year wasn’t a fluke.”

McDonald attributes much of his success and development to the Penguins organization, and hopes one day to break through to hockey’s highest level.

“The longer that I’m here, the happier I am with the decision to sign with Pittsburgh,” he said. “I’ve learned more with Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton than in any year playing pro with the way they teach. With no disrespect to the coaches I’ve had before, but I wish I started here.

“While I’m here I’m working toward my goal, playing in the NHL.”
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