Last updated: February 16. 2013 10:50PM - 207 Views

Story Tools:

Font Size:

Social Media:
I stopped by PensFest on Friday to meet some of the new members of the Penguins organization who were on hand to sign autographs. Beau Bennett, Brian Dumolin, Reid McNeil and Dominic Uher were scheduled to appear later in the evening and I couldn't stick around due to prior commitments, so I'll catch up with them this week. I was able to talk to Tom K├╝hnhackl, Jayson Megna, Joe Morrow and Adam Payerl beforehand, and came away very impressed. You can tell a lot about what type of person a player is the first time you interview them. With young players just breaking in to the pro ranks, it's not uncommon to encounter someone who is a bit nervous during an interview.
That wasn't the case here. I spoke with Megna first - a 22-year-old who left college early to sign a two-year entry level deal. He was very well-spoken, gave insightful answers to a couple of softball questions while adding a bit of excitement about being here. He also spoke in detail about the possibility of an NHL lockout and how that affects him.
Kuhnhackl is from Germany so I expected someone whose English was shaky and wouldn't be a great interview.
I was wrong.
Kuhnhackl speaks the language fluently and, even though he rolled is eyes at first, didn't mind being open when I asked him about his 20 game suspension in juniors last season for an elbow to the head of an opponent. He said it's an issue he wants to put behind him while he is looking forward to playing a full season free of suspension and injury - both of which he dealt with last year. I'm sure Kuhnhackl didn't come to PensFest expecting to talk about last season's suspension, but he handled it like a pro.
Payerl could develop into another Zach Sill - both in how he plays and how he gives interviews. He has a serious side, knows the game well (we spoke in-depth about what it means to be a power forward) and also has a sense of humor. Like Sill, Payerl could be a guy the media turns to in the locker room for some decent quotes after a tough loss.
One thing stood out about Morrow right away - despite being a first round pick and almost making Pittsburgh's roster out of training camp last year, he certainly hasn't let the success go to his head. There's no ego here, just modesty and someone who isn't taking his good fortune for granted. Morrow said his success at Pittsburgh's training camp - a young rookie coming out of nowhere to almost make the big club, really didn't sink in until he was on the plane back to juniors. That's when it hit him, he said, and the success last season - which also includes 64 points in 62 games, is a motivator to strive for more this year. Real interesting person to talk to.
I'll be running stories this week with each player, and I hope to catch up to the others as well.
Training camp is still a couple weeks away, but things have gotten off to a great start from a media perspective. Last season's team was a breeze to interview, and it looks like that won't change this year.
All user comments are subject to our Terms of Service. Users may flag inappropriate comments.
comments powered by Disqus

Featured Businesses


Info Minute

Gas Prices

Wilkes-Barre Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com