(PRESS RELEASE: Penguins recall Nasreddine and DuPont)
Off the ice, Alain Nasreddine and Micki DuPont are in similar situations.
The two have played in small number of NHL games and hope to prove they belong in Pittsburgh with the Penguins.
On the ice, the two are opposites.
Nasreddine has been more a defensive specialist throughout his career, while DuPont has acted as an offensive catalyst.
Those are the roles the two will play in Pittsburgh.
“Those are two guys who bring different aspects to our team. Nasreddine is playing really well defensively. DuPont is good on the power play,” Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. “We have seven defensemen right now, which is a better situation than having six. It brings some inside competition. I have always been a believer that you need that inside competition. If a player’s work ethic is not there or concentration is not there, they know that someone is going to be ready to pick up their spot. That always helps maintain what they are supposed to do.”
Nasreddine, 31, has played in 24 NHL games throughout his career – including six with the Penguins last season. He tallied three goals, five assists and 25 penalty minutes with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this year.
“The older you get the better it is. Getting another shot early in the year – I am going to try to make the most out of it. I am just happy to be here,” he said. “In Wilkes-Barre, we all work together and we have a pretty good group. For me, personally my defensive game has been pretty good. Penalty killing is my bread and butter and that’s what I am going to try to do here if I get the chance on the PK. I want to play hard and aggressive and keep the puck out of my net.”
Meanwhile, DuPont, 26, played in 18 NHL games with Calgary (2001-03). He spent the last three seasons in Germany and totaled 32 goals, 97 points in 148 games. He led all defensemen in scoring the last three seasons and led Berlin to back-to-back league championships. Also, he played for Canada at the 2006 World Championships. He had one assist in nine games.
“I want to come up here and show them I can play at this level and stay here. That’s my goal and I am sure everyone’s goal who comes up,” he said. “Coming up, you feel a little nervous, but you have to go out, play your game and try not to do too much. I am sure I will be nervous out there, but I will play the way I can – maybe play the power play and get pucks to the net, but at the same time be responsible in my own end and be a good defensive player as well.
“Hopefully, the team can get a bit of a spark from some guys coming up. Hopefully, I can help the team get some wins as well,” he continued. “I felt pretty good down [at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton]. We have a good team there. We are putting a lot of wins together and playing well. I was very happy when I got the call to come up here.”
For both, they just want to keep their games simple.
“I just want to play the same way, not try to do too much. That was my problem when I was younger. I played in the NHL and tried to do too much and make plays I shouldn’t,” Nasreddine said. “It’s just a matter of keeping it simple, playing the way I know I can, play well defensively and not give up too many scoring chances.”
The Penguins demoted Noah Welch to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He had one goal and one assist in 17 games in Pittsburgh this year.
“We want him to get some mileage. He played one pro season last year. This year, it’s important for him to play a lot,” Therrien said. “Lately, I thought he kind of lost his confidence. Whenever he lost his confidence, his ice time goes down because he’s going to make some mistakes, but we have a lot of faith in that kid and he’s part of the plan. But, at such a young age, he needs to play and we want to make sure he goes down there with the right attitude and dominate the American Hockey League.
“A lot of our guys have played really well in the minors and had success in the NHL level. There’s nothing wrong with going there and play a lot on the power play, penalty killing and five-on-five and get a ton of ice time, if you deserve it. That’s the way we feel.”