(PRESS RELEASE: Penguins acquire Moore and Pivko)
Dominic Moore didn’t just see a dramatic change in the Pittsburgh Penguins last season – he experienced it.
That’s why he was elated to find out he was traded to Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
“Absolutely. I think it’s a real good situation,” he said. “I spoke with [Penguins General Manager Ray [Shero] and Coach [Michel] Therrien on Wednesday. We think it’s a good fit for myself and the team. I am very excited to be a part of the Penguins. I think we can do some good things for sure.”
As a rookie with the New York Rangers, Moore was on the ice as the Penguins rolled to a 5-3 win in the season-ending contest between the two teams. He saw dramatic improvement in the other eight games the two squads played in 2005-06 as well.
“No doubt. I can honestly say, at the end of the season, they skated all over us,” he said. “It was impressive to see the strides they had taken, especially toward the end of the season. They were a very tough team to play against. They took care of us for sure [in the final game].”
Moore, who was traded from New York to Nashville before the Predators sent Moore and Libor Pivko to the Penguins for a 2007 third-round draft choice, is a 6-foot, 195-pound center. The Thornhill, Ontario, native is yet another talented youngster on the Penguins roster. He turns 26 on Aug. 3.
“The excitement that I feel about coming to Pittsburgh is due to that – there are a lot of young guys and a lot of talented players,” he said. “There are a lot of guys that want to take that step and be winners. I think it’s nothing but exciting as far as the opportunity at stake for all of us as a team next year.”
He believes the team’s youth will be a positive team attribute.
“It’s easier to jell as a team, especially when there are a lot of guys who are young,” he said. “I think that can be a great advantage for the Penguins. It’s not too often to have a lot of guys jell like that, but it’s easier when they are all around the same age.”
Moore will see some familiar faces in Penguins training camp. A Harvard product, Moore played college hockey with Penguins defenseman prospects Noah Welch and Ryan Lannon. The three played on the same Crimson squads in 2001-02 and 2002-03.
“They are definitely good young players,” Moore said. “I played against [Penguins defenseman Ryan] Whitney when he was at Boston University, too, and I skate with him in the summer in Boston.”
Moore, who majored in sociology, had the chance to skate with his two older brothers, Mark and Steve, while at Harvard. All three suited up for the Crimson during the 1999-00 season.
“I felt very fortunate to have been able to do that,” Dominic said. “It was a great experience for us. People don’t know Harvard actually has a great hockey program. It has a long history of great players and great teams.”
Coincidentally, Mark Moore was drafted by the Penguins in 1997 and spent part of the 2000-01 season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Baby Penguins. Steve Moore was drafted by Colorado and spent parts of three seasons with the Avalanche before he was severely injured by Todd Bertuzzi’s much-publicized hit from behind on March 8, 2004. Steve suffered three fractured vertebrae, nerve damage, a concussion and facial cuts from the hit.
“He’s coming along OK. It’s a slow process,” Dominic said. “He is working every day trying to get better. His goal is to try to play again. It’s too early to say whether that’s possible.”
Nevertheless, Dominic Moore looks forward to bringing his gritty, solid two-way game to the Penguins.
“I strive to be as complete a two-way player as I can be. Hopefully, I am able to make plays at both ends of the rink,” he said.
He had nine goals and nine assists in 82 games with the Rangers last year.
“Last year, I played more of a defensive role – killing penalties and checking other teams’ strong lines,” he said. “Those are some of my strengths, but I feel I can contribute in other ways as well.
“I am just real excited. I look forward to being able to help the team and getting to Pittsburgh.”