After getting traded to the Penguins, traveling across the country to join his new team and making his debut all within about a 36-hour span, having a day off Sunday to get his bearings was huge for David Perron.
His buddy Kris Letang took care of him, taking Perron around his new city and inviting him over to his home for dinner.
“He just asked me what I wanted to do, and I asked if there was a store around I could get some clothes, so he took me to the mall and I grabbed a few things,” said Perron, who was on the road in Colorado with Edmonton when the trade happened and didn’t have a lot of attire with him.
“Then we went over to (Simon) Despres’ house after, played a little bit of darts and cards. Then we went to Whole Foods, grabbed some food and went to Letang’s house and had dinner. Came back home (to the hotel) at night, was pretty tired but it was a good day.”
On Monday, it was right back to work for Perron. After participating in team practice, which lasted about an hour, Perron stayed on the ice for an extra 10-15 minutes to work on drills with Sidney Crosby.
While head coach Mike Johnston plans to eventually try Perron on a line with Evgeni Malkin as well, like he did with Patric Hornqvist, the newest Penguins forward skated with the captain in Pittsburgh’s last game against Montreal on Saturday. And Perron scored a goal that night off a perfect feed from Crosby, who threaded it between the sticks of Canadiens forwards Tomas Plekanec and Dale Weise right onto Perron's blade.
“That was the probably the best pass I’ve ever received,” Perron said. “Over two sticks and I had a good portion of the net to put it in.”
In order to hopefully connect for more plays like that, Perron and Crosby worked primarily on sending each other cross-ice feeds they would then shoot into the open net.
“I want to try and come in and fit in well with him,” Perron said. “I’ll do anything to try and get to know him, basically. It’s good to see a guy pass the puck a lot. You get used to how the puck comes off his stick and same for him, so it was good. It’s probably something we’ll do a lot more. I like to stay a lot after practice, whether it’s helping him or other guys, I like to shoot extra pucks and do extra stuff.”
While he’s a physical, skilled goal scorer with incredible hands who should be a fantastic complement to Crosby, Perron admitted it may take him a while to feel comfortable working alongside of the best players in the world.
“Even in practice, I was a little bit nervous doing those 2-on-2’s and stuff like that,” Perron said. “That’s why doing that extra work after practice, getting to know how he passes, how it comes off his stick – it’s just little things that as a shooter, you’re trying to get as much as possible so when it comes in the game, you can be ready for everything. Mostly with him, he can pass it as good on his forehand as on his backhand. He showed that obviously last game.”
While of course nothing can compare to the speed of games, Crosby said the more relaxed atmosphere of practice is conducive to figuring out Perron’s tendencies.
“Games I think is where you kind of learn the most as far as reacting to guys and what they do, but you can talk things out a bit when it doesn’t mean anything and try to get better,” Crosby said. “So we’ll try to get a feel for where he likes to go and stuff like that.”