I am a really big fan of Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Simon Despres (and not just because his name is fun to say / hear!). I enjoy watching him on the blueline.
This morning’s announcement by the Pittsburgh Penguins that they’ve recalled Despres from their AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is one I’ve been waiting for since yesterday’s report that defenseman Paul Martin was not on the ice with the rest of the team for practice.
Yesterday, Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma advised that it was a maintenance day for Martin and that he “is possible for Game 4.” Right now that’s looking unlikely with the call-up of Despres.
I enjoy watching Despres; the kid’s got talent and is doing all the right things to become a great NHL defenseman. I only hope that he remains a Pittsburgh Penguin and gets to learn alongside Kris Letang (meaning that I’m concerned either Despres or Letang have a chance to be dealt this off-season as part of the organization “cleaning house” with the current situation the way it is). That would be a defensive tandem that could be quite effective and one I hope we will get an opportunity to see within the next season or two.
But for right now, I think this is a good move by the Penguins. Having Martin (who has been less than effective and not earning much of his $5 million contract) sit out of the lineup tonight and recalling an effective rookie defenseman to play on Pittsburgh’s blueline has to be better than what we’ve had up against the Philadelphia Flyers rookie juggernauts that have been flying past our team and beating us at the majority, if not every part, of the game. We can’t overhaul everything – it’s too late for that. Depres seems to understand Bylsma’s [non-existant] ‘defensive’ system better than Martin and Zybnek Michalek and I’m anxious to see what he can do in this situation and hoping that he won’t disappoint (although any defense is better than no defense at all).