Even though he is considered one of the most feared fighters in professional hockey, Steve MacIntyre wondered is his Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguin teammates would be a bit ticked off about his decision not to come to training camp right away after inking an AHL deal last week.
‚??I thought at first some of the guys might feel jaded toward me as far as me not coming to camp,‚?Ě MacIntyre said. ‚??But I talked to the guys and coaches and they respected the fact that I made the decision based on my family.‚?Ě
The 6-5, 250-pound winger spent last week making sure his wife and children were situated before leaving to join the Penguins on Tuesday for the last week of training camp. Now, he said, it‚??s all business.
The 32-year-old veteran of 10 pro seasons and 90 NHL games signed a two-year contract with the Pittsburgh organization in July and, after the lockout, inked an AHL contract with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last Friday. He arrived in town on Monday evening and practiced with the team on Tuesday, feeling fortunate to have a place to play while other players are out of work during the lockout.
‚??I talked to (Pittsburgh) management and we thought it was good for me if we went back to playing hockey up in Pittsburgh that I would be able to make the transition if that‚??s where they wanted me,‚?Ě MacIntyre said. ‚??I felt pretty good (today). A little rusty in a couple areas but it will come in time.‚?Ě
MacIntyre admitted that‚??s Pittsburgh‚??s decision to re-sign him for two years played a major role in his decision to join the AHL team during the lockout.
The two-year deal, was a major commitment by the organization, he said.
‚??Being that I‚??m older, that was a tremendous compliment,‚?Ě MacIntyre said. ‚??I laid my heart on the line and told them I‚??m a family man and we need some stability. They stepped up and I‚??m happy to be here and do whatever they ask me to do.‚?Ě
One of the things MacIntyre will be asked to do is protect his teammates and drop the gloves when its called for. It‚??s a role he has no problem with, even more so since it landed him a job during the lockout.
‚??I talked to (Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero and assistant GM Jason Botterill) and they didn‚??t have to invite me here, but they did,‚?Ě MacIntyre said. ‚??You go back to guys just looking for a place to play, and I feel privileged to be here. I don‚??t take that for granted.‚?Ě
Head coach John Hynes said that the players sent down to Wheeling on Monday still figure in the team‚??s plans. He said it was important to make sure they all played at least two exhibition games before heading to Wheeling.
‚??We wanted to get to know them as players and have them go down to Wheeling feeling that they did get a good look and made an impression,‚?Ě Hynes said.
With the roster set at nine defensemen and 12 forwards (not including Robert Bortuzzo, Denver Manderson and Keven Veilleux, who are all injured), Hynes said there would be no more cuts before the start of the season.
Hynes said Bortuzzo (lower body) is questionable for the season opener in Binghamton this Saturday and, while the injury isn‚??t long-term, he won‚??t be rushed back.
With three more practice days before the season begins, Hynes will look for his players to develop chemistry with different forward lines and defensive pairings.
Penguins at Senators
7:05 p.m., Saturday
Fans will get an up close and personal look at the Penguins on TV, as Chillin‚?? with the Penguins hits the airwaves for its second season.
The half-hour show will feature Penguins broadcasters Tom Grace and Mike O‚??Brien chatting with Pens players, and will allow fans to ask questions directly to their favorite Penguins during with an interactive Q&A session.
The show will feature two Penguins players or coaches each week, and will be taped in front of a live audience inside the Ice Rink at Coal Street Park.
Ten shows will be aired on WQMY this season at 6:30 p.m. on the Saturdays of that week‚??s taping.
The first taping will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17.