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The Inside Scoop: Gonchar Ready to Compete; Perron Arrives

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

Former Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar is hoping to earn a spot on Pittsburgh’s roster in training camp while working on a professional try out contract.

The 20-year NHL veteran has been “feeling better and better everyday” being back on the ice with the Pens. “I’ve played with some of those guys before, but still didn’t play with them for a few years,” Gonchar said. “But there’s still an adjustment period.”

Despite being 41 years old, he’s still in excellent shape. His training regiment has certainly changed since the last tenure with the Pens from 2005-10.

“Every year you make adjustments based on how you feel,” Gonchar said. “Not just how you train but how much you eat and how much you sleep and that stuff.”

But make no mistake, the cagey veteran isn’t about to give anything away.

“I’m not going to tell you all my secrets,” Gonchar joked.

The Pens blue line is backloaded with players vying for positions. Gonchar is hoping he can make enough of an impact that the coaches keep him around for a second go.

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Winger David Perron is also excited to be back in Pittsburgh after an eventful summer. The 27-year-old forward is a new parent.

Perron and Vanessa welcomed their first son, Mason, on July 24.

“It’s a little bit different not getting up in the morning (while away in Pittsburgh),” Perron said. “I’m getting to sleep pretty good.”

More than anything, he’s just happy to have a healthy baby.

“You don’t realize so much when you don’t have one, but when you just have a healthy baby it doesn’t matter,” he said. “People can say the size or this or that – it doesn’t matter as long as he’s healthy and that’s what he is. We’re really happy about that.”

Perron isn’t just excited about returning to familiar faces and a new practice rink, but healthy competition going into training camp.

“You just have to make sure you work your best and you do the things the coaches are asking so you get more and more minutes, more responsibility,” Perron said. “I’ll be one of the guys fighting for that. It’s going to be a fun battle with everyone and it’s going to be healthy.”

The left-winger is also anxious to have his first full season with the Pens. Perron was acquired by Pittsburgh on Jan. 2 of this year.

“I’m really happy I got to experience that last year,” Perron said. “I pretty much know everyone in the rink now – the guys, the staff. It’s a big step ahead for me.

“I’m a little bit less nervous coming into the rink for the first time than I was last time around here.”

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