While general manager Ray Shero was in Pittsburgh working deals that brought forwards Marcel Goc and Lee Stempniak to the Penguins, the team was in the air flying from Nashville to San Jose.
The Penguins took an early morning five-hour flight and landed in California around 1:45 p.m. Of course, upon their arrival the players, coaches and staff checked in on the latest trades circulating around the NHL.
One player that was particularly interested was center Brandon Sutter, who has been rumored to be part of a trade for the past few days.
“It was a tough couple of days,” Sutter admitted. “As soon as we landed I was scared to check my phone.
“I was just waiting it out like everyone else was. Fortunately I didn’t get a call or anything. It’s a big relief. Now I can worry about playing. I’m pretty excited about it.”
Sutter’s teammates can empathize with him over the situation.
“It’s hard to see someone go through that, it’s not easy to deal with,” captain Sidney Crosby said. “I think he’s handled it amazingly. The way he’s played through all of that has been incredible. I think we’re all glad it’s over, but he is especially.”
And now that he doesn’t have to worry about his status any longer, Sutter can concentrate on doing his job.
“It was a pretty stressful time. I’m glad it’s done with. I can get back to worrying about playing and being a part of this team,” Sutter said. “We have a good group here. I’m excited to stay here and compete with these guys.
“I’m glad it’s done and I can move on.”
After landing in San Jose the Penguins took a bus from the airport straight to SAP Center for practice.
All the Penguins healthy players took part in the skate. They were joined by forward Chris Conner, who has missed the past 19 games with a broken hand.
“I’m happy to be back with the team,” said Conner, who has no timeframe for when he could return to the lineup. “It’s nice to get out there and skate with the guy.”
Conner had been working with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar, strengthening his hand and building up his conditioning.
“I feel pretty good,” he said. “It’s just a matter of getting your timing and making sure everything is working like it’s supposed to.”
GLASS ENDORSES OLD FRIEND STEMPNIAK
Forward Tanner Glass will be seeing an old friend around the Penguins locker room soon. The recently acquired Stempniak is an old teammate of Glass’ from when the two played college hockey at Dartmouth.
“He works at his game like crazy,” Glass said. “He was the last one off the ice in college. He really took care of himself. Very disciplined guy and disciplined player. He has some offensive instincts. He's a top-6 guy I would imagine. He's strong on the puck, a really good skater and he's smart. I see him fitting in really well.”
Glass, who admitted that Stempniak was the better student, said that Stempniak’s best attribute is his character.
“He's a guy of the highest character,” Glass said. “His work ethic, the way he prepares, the kind of guy he is, he's a real salt of the earth guy, a really good person.”