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Penguins Report: Garon Joins Teammates

Monday, 01.19.2009 / 3:28 PM / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan
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Penguins Report: Garon Joins Teammates
The newest Penguin participated in his first practice at Mellon Arena on Monday afternoon. Goaltender Mathieu Garon was acquired by Pittsburgh on Saturday from Edmonton in exchange for goalie Dany Sabourin, forward Ryan Stone and a fourth-round pick in 2011.

“You never really expect it but I got the call early in the morning,” Garon said. “I was a bit surprised but happy at the same time. The fact that we had three goalies, I kind of expected it a little bit. You never know when or where. It’s always a surprise.”

“He’s a quality veteran goaltender with a proven track record of winning games,” assistant general manager Chuck Fletcher said. “He’s been a No. 1 goaltender in the league. He’s somebody that adds experience and hopefully provides a good counter punch with Marc-Andre Fleury.”

Garon, who broke into the league in 2000, has played in 200 career games with a 92-82-3-10 record, 2.84 goals against average and .905 save percentage. He won 31 games with the Los Angeles Kings in 2005-06.

“From our standpoint, we needed a bit more experience with our goaltenders,” head coach Michel Therrien said last Saturday. “A guy like Garon has been in the league for a while. He’s having a decent season. I think that’s going to be a good fit with Fleury. Marc-Andre is still our guy but we want to make sure that he’s going to be well surrounded. A guy like that can give us the experience that we need.”

He’s a quality veteran goaltender with a proven track record of winning games. He’s been a No. 1 goaltender in the league. He’s somebody that adds experience and hopefully provides a good counter punch with Marc-Andre Fleury. - Chuck Fletcher
Though Garon has been brought in to backup Fleury, Therrien said that his performance will dictate how much he plays.

“The performance dictates the ice time,” Therrien said. “It’s good for the players and the same thing as the goalie. We’ll go from there. When players play well, it gives him a chance to increase his ice time.”

“I know my role here,” Garon said. “I know Marc is a great goalie. When I get a chance to play I’ll have to have good games if I want to play more games. At the same time, I know my role.”

Garon is a butterfly-style netminder that likes to play aggressively in his crease. He’s also the first south-paw goalie - wearing his glove on his right hand - the Penguins have had since Jean-Sebastian Aubin.

While the trade surprised Garon, he’s pleased to end up in Pittsburgh.

“It’s a great spot to be,” he said. “A great team, young team and a team that can go far in the playoffs. I didn’t want to end up with a team with no future for this year so it’s really good. I’m really excited.”


> The Penguins held an optional practice at Mellon Arena on Monday afternoon. Players that took part in the practice were forwards Pascal Dupuis, Maxime Talbot, Dustin Jeffrey, Chris Minard, Sidney Crosby, Matt Cooke, Bill Thomas, Paul Bissonnette, Tyler Kennedy and Eric Godard, defensemen Alex Goligoski, Rob Scuderi, Hal Gill and Sergei Gonchar and goaltenders Fleury and Garon.

Crosby, who is still nursing an undisclosed injury, opted to skate in practice instead of giving the injury a rest by taking the day off.

“Because it can stiffen up and things like that, I wanted to make sure I move,” Crosby reasoned. “If I want to play, I have to get through practice and get through that fine. It’s good to test it out and see how it feels.”

Crosby missed his first game of the season last Friday against Anaheim but returned to action Sunday afternoon against the New York Rangers. He said he felt good following the game.

“No setbacks (Sunday) so that’s good; just keep going at it,” he said.

     
 

 
     
Despite his return, Crosby is still handling the injury on a day-to-day basis. Though he will likely play against the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday night at Mellon Arena at 7:30 p.m., he is unsure if he’ll play in this weekend’s All-Star Game.

“As of right now, yeah,” Crosby said of playing the All-Star Game. “Obviously, I thought about it a little more now because of what’s going on. I’ll probably decide after the game (Tuesday). My plan is to play (Tuesday) and see how I feel after that.”

Talbot’s participation in practice was a sign that he’s ready to rejoin the lineup. He is still on the injured reserve list, so he isn’t eligible to play against Carolina. But Talbot is targeting Pittsburgh’s first game after the all-star break, Wednesday Jan. 28 against the Rangers.

“I’m on the IR so I can’t play (Tuesday) but I’ll definitely come back after the break,” Talbot said. “On the way back from the break, that’s the plan.”

Talbot will use the all-star break to continue his recovery.

“It’s going to be good,” he said. “You have time to rest up for the end of the season. Put a little energy in the bank and getting ready to go.”

Dupuis, however, was lifted off of IR Monday and is eligible to play against the Hurricanes.

“We’ll see for (Tuesday) but I felt pretty good today,” said Dupuis, who practiced with his teammates. “It gets boring skating on your own. Skating out there with the boys, back in the action, everybody’s happy. We’re winning lately so it’s good to get back.”


> Sunday was a special day for Pittsburgh sports. First, the Penguins knocked off the Rangers, 3-0, in front of a sellout crowd at Mellon Arena on a nationally televised broadcast. Then, the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the division rival Baltimore Ravens, 23-14, in the AFC Championship Game at Heinz Field to advance to Super Bowl XLIII.

It’s nice to see the association between the Penguins and the Steelers ... They love hockey, we love football. It’s great we share the same passion. We do what we love. It’s nice to see that both teams are doing well. - Maxime Talbot
Penguins fans showed their support for the Steelers by bringing their “Terrible Towels” to the hockey game. Even the Penguins players got on board with Fleury skating onto the ice in a Steelers helmet while waving the Terrible Towel after the game. A few of the Penguins players attended the Steelers game that evening.

“I went to the game,” Talbot said. “It was unbelievable. It was a great experience. I’ve been to a couple games this year but that game was really special yesterday. I had a blast. You see how big of a sports city Pittsburgh is when you go to events like that.”

Talbot is equally impressed by the synergy between the two professional sports organizations.

“It’s nice to see the association between the Penguins and the Steelers,” he said. “You saw the coach of the Steelers (Mike Tomlin) coming to some (Penguins) games. I’ve been to most of their games this year. You see Jeff Reed coming to some games. They love hockey, we love football. It’s great we share the same passion. We do what we love. It’s nice to see that both teams are doing well.”



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