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Putting His Best Foot Forward

Tristan Jarry's effort, attitude, and execution have led to his second career All-Star selection

by Michelle Crechiolo @PensInsideScoop / Penguins Team Reporter

When Penguins goaltending coach Andy Chiodo looks at what Tristan Jarry has been able to do during what is now officially an All-Star season, what stands out the most is the netminder's effort, attitude, and execution - along with his consistent approach to getting better, and placing an emphasis on what he can control.

"Then we also have a well-managed, well-coached team with great players, and it's a good environment to work in every day," Chiodo said. "All those things culminate together and give you an opportunity to really put your best foot forward, which is something that Tristan has emphasized that he wants to do day in and day out.

"I think those are different things that have brought him consistency, and that are going to allow him to keep building and growing from here."

At this point in the season, that consistency has resulted in an 18-7-4 record, a .929 save percentage, 2.05 goals-against average, and his second career All-Star Game selection, with the 26-year-old chosen to represent the Metropolitan Division. He previously played in the 2020 All-Star Game.

"He's just a high-end goaltender," Jake Guentzel said. "He's playing with confidence, and we have all the confidence in the world in him. So we're happy for him, and just to see the way he's playing, it's pretty special."

Tweet from @penguins: LET US INTRODUCE: TWO-TIME NHL ALL-STAR, TRISTAN JARRY!Congratulations @tjarry35! 👏Learn more: https://t.co/GPS6iaupax pic.twitter.com/txlXXmVqQs

The foundation for all of this was built back when the weather was warm and the sun was shining. When Jarry went back to his barley farm in western Canada after the tough finish to last season, he was determined to do whatever it took to return to Pittsburgh a better goalie.

"My mindset was just get down and get to work," Jarry said. "Coming in this year, I wanted to prove that I had a good summer, and that I was able to work on some things."

It helped that Jarry had a number of productive conversations with Penguins general manager Ron Hextall, an elite NHL goaltender in his playing days, which meant he could relate to his experiences better than most. 

"We all learn lessons in life, and if you're going to be a goaltender in this league for a long time, you're going to have your ups and downs as pretty much every guy does," Hextall said. "You learn from it and get better, and we're confident that Tristan is going to get better."

That vote of confidence was something that pushed Jarry as he woke up early each morning to get his on- and off-ice workouts done - usually around 7 or 8 AM - with a group of training partners he said really helped him throughout the process.

"Hexy and I talked a lot over the summer, and I think that was something that motivated me," Jarry said. "It motivated me to be better and motivated me to work harder every day. That was something that I thought was a sign of relief, just that I knew I'd be coming back. And I think it was something where I wanted to prove to them that they weren't making a mistake."

It also helped that Chiodo traveled to Edmonton to spend time with Jarry after being promoted to his current position following three seasons as goaltending development coach. It had been a while since they had worked together on a consistent basis, so Chiodo wanted to reconnect and get a feel for Jarry's surroundings, get to know his training staff a little better, and just make sure they were in a good position to hit the ground running come September.  

Looking back on it, Jarry feels that time together proved to be incredibly beneficial, saying he appreciates Chiodo's clear and straight-forward approach.

"Just having Andy fly in and see me a couple of times throughout the summer, I think that's where we started connecting," Jarry said. "It wasn't in training camp. It wasn't early in the season. It was in the summer when we started to work. It's something that got my game where it needed to be coming to Pittsburgh, not when I arrived. So I think that was something that helped me a lot, and he's someone that's helped my game a lot."

Now that he's here and the season continues to progress along, Jarry's biggest focus remains centered on having the right mentality every day. That allows him to stay within himself, and use his tremendous set of skills to the best of his ability.

"Every game I want to have a good mindset, and make sure I'm putting my best foot forward and just working as hard as I can," Jarry said. "I think that's been the case for me, is just a lot of hard work. And working with the staff, I think, has been great. It's been a big boost for me. I think they've been very supportive and behind me every step of the way. I think it's helped me continue to develop this year."

As Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan has said to reporters on a number of occasions, they have high expectations of Jarry because they know how talented he is. Sullivan said his talks with Jarry revolve around learning through each experience, but not dwelling on it, and blocking out any sort of noise around the group.

"He's a young goalie, and we believe he's capable of doing great things," Sullivan said. "I just think he's a guy that has so much upside and so much potential. When he's on his game, he's as good as the top goaltenders in the league. We know he's capable of that. So it's more about just staying in the moment and not getting overwhelmed by any sort of circumstances that come his way."

That includes circumstances that are more challenging, like having some struggles in the shootout at the start of the year, and circumstances that are more positive, like his five-game win streak from Nov. 18-26 that included three shutouts and two total goals against over that span. 

Whatever the situation, Jarry has been doing his best to just stop the puck and give his teammates a chance to win, and they couldn't be more appreciative of what he's been able to do between the pipes.

Teddy Blueger in particular has known Jarry for a long time, as the two of them were drafted a year apart by the Penguins - the forward in 2012 and the goalie in 2013, both in the second round - and spent a lot of time together in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League before making the transition to Pittsburgh. 

Blueger, who asked Jarry to be one of his groomsmen in his wedding this past summer, believes that regardless of what has happened in the past or what will happen in the future, nothing takes away from the fact that Jarry has - and continues to be - a great NHL goalie.

"I think he's been great all along," Blueger said. "I know the guys in the room always believe in him, have full trust when he's in net. Obviously, he's getting better as a player each year, but that's the goal for everyone. He is getting better, but he's always working hard, staying hungry. He's been great for us this year."

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