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Old Friend, New Foe

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins will see a few new faces in the lineup for the revamped Philadelphia Flyers Thursday night at Wells Fargo Center. But one of the newest Flyers will have a familiar grin staring back at the Penguins: Maxime Talbot.

Max Talbot played his first six seasons with the Pens and will face his old team for the first time on Thursday.
The Flyers center played his first six NHL seasons with the Penguins after the organization drafted him in the eighth round (234th overall) in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.

"It’ll be different,” defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “We’ve had plenty of guys come through here who have played here. Without speaking for him, It’s probably way different for him than it is for us. It will be way different when he is here again."

Forward Chris Kunitz agreed, adding “It’s the first time we’ll see him. It’ll be a little different. It’s probably weirder for him. He’s the one who left. We’re still doing the same things. He’s the one who will experience something different.”

Talbot, a fan favorite during his time in Pittsburgh, scored 52 goals and 108 points in 388 games for Pittsburgh. But his most memorable game, and the contest where he put his stamp on Penguins history forever, was scoring both of Pittsburgh’s goals in a 2-1 Game 7 victory at Detroit to win the franchise’s third Stanley Cup championship in 2009.

But in the offseason, Talbot signed a five-year contract with the Penguins’ cross-state rivals Philadelphia – and so now he’s gone from teammate to the enemy. Talbot will face his former team for the first time Thursday.

“It’s always weird when you play against former teammates,” captain Sidney Crosby said. “But the rivalry with that team I’m sure will kind of be more of the focus than playing against a former teammate. I’m sure Max has gotten past that. He’s on the Flyers now and he’s an opponent, so that’s the way things are. We’ll compete hard against one another.”

“He’s been there for almost 30 games now. He’s used to it,” forward Pascal Dupuis said. “He’s made it his home. He’s doing well, playing some good hockey. So it’ll be interesting to see him again (Thursday).”

Talbot and Marc-Andre Fleury roomed together on the road during Talbot's time with Pittsburgh. The two remain close.
The players have maintained a good relationship with Talbot and stay in contact with him, including his former road roommate goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. Both players are from the Quebec province and came up through the Penguins’ system together.

“We’re used to playing with each other for so long,” Fleury said. “I’m just wondering what he’ll do once he gets a shot on net. He would also (chirp me) when he was on my team. I don’t expect him to stop now.

“We used to spend almost every day together. And we were roommates. It’s a little different. We got used to each other’s routine. That’s hockey.”

Talbot was a high-energy performer that played with a lot of tempo and speed. And even though he’s wearing orange and black, the Penguins expect to see that same type of play from him.

“I expect him to be hard to play against,” Crosby said. “I think that’s his job on their team. That’s what he did here. He tried to provide energy and be hard to play against. So I would expect him to do the same things. I mean, we’re all playing to win. We definitely had some good times here and keep in touch, but on the ice you still got to play the same way. I think everyone kind of respects that and understands it.”
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