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Daley injury fully healed, ready for season

by Sam Kasan @PensInsideScoop / Pittsburgh Penguins

Here's all you need to know about Trevor Daley.

After Penguins captain Sidney Crosby hoisted the Stanley Cup in June, the first person he passed it to was Daley. That's how much of an impact he made on his team.

 "It was real special," Daley said of that moment. "I was shocked. I didn't really know what to do. Now that I've had time to reflect on it, it's pretty special."

Daley, who hoisted the Cup for the first time as a 12-year veteran, missed the Pens' final nine postseason games after breaking his ankle in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against Tampa Bay.

Daley began skating again three weeks ago and feels the ankle is strong and well.

"It's been good. I'm ready to go," Daley said. "I'm excited to get going and get started."

Daley was a leader both on and off of the ice. When minutes-eating blueliner and Norris Trophy-caliber defenseman Kris Letang served a one-game suspension in a critical Game 4 contest against the Washington Capitals, it was Daley who stepped up. Daley logged a postseason-high 28:41 minutes as Pittsburgh defeated the Capitals 3-2 in overtime en route to dethroning the President's Trophy winner.

Daley logged over 21 minutes in every playoff game for Pittsburgh until suffering his ankle injury. And he thinks the Pens will have to be play even better hockey this season if they want to reclaim the Stanley Cup.

"We have to be better. Every night everyone is going to be gunning for us," Daley said. "When you're the champs everyone will want to knock you off. We are going to have to be better.

"The goal is to repeat. I was on a team last year (Chicago) that had an opportunity to repeat. To start the season all they talked about was repeating. I think there shouldn't be any difference here."

Daley is a skilled, puck moving defenseman that bases a lot of his game on skating. But he has no concerns about how his ankle injury will affect his play.

"I feel great," Daley said. "I don't feel like I missed a step at all. I feel good about my game and I'm just excited to get going."

Daley, who was acquired by the Penguins from Chicago in exchange for Rob Scuderi on Dec. 14, was an integral member of the Pens' dramatic turnaround in 2015-16 from fringe playoff team into NHL champions. His speed, skating and skill level allowed Pittsburgh to transition into one of the fleetest teams in the league.

Daley had began last offseason with a trade from Dallas, where he played the first 11 seasons of his career, to Chicago. This offseason he was spending a day with the Stanley Cup.

"The whole (season) was pretty crazy and the way it ended and the way it started," Daley said. "It was a rollercoaster year, but it ended well. So it was good."

 

 

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