Tristan Jarry simply shrugged and disregarded the premise. This summer, Pittsburgh Penguins goalie was the second most debated subject of the Penguins fanbase tbehind only the futures of core players Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. Jarry’s future and suitability for the Penguins No. 1 goalie spot were a close second, and even the organization sought insurance against a possible regression after last season’s playoff splat.
When asked about the outside noise and discussions about him specifically, Jarry was indifferent.
“I just get down and get to work,” Jarry said. “I think that was the biggest part of my summer–I just want to work hard and improve my game. And I think throughout training camp, I want to get better every day and just do what I can to be right for the team.”
It should be noted, Jarry learned the art of the non-answer when his NHL time began (again) in the 2019-20 season. The jokey, loose kid has buttoned it up since returning to the show two years ago.
Jarry, 26, did concede there may be another side bet with his friend, but Pittsburgh Penguins arch-rival Philadelphia Flyers goalie Carter Hart.
“I’m sure there will be something later on,” he smiled in his reply to PHN.
And that was as much as we got.
Pittsburgh Penguins management has expressed confidence in Jarry. GM Ron Hextall and President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke may have expressed a desire for a veteran goalie as insurance. Still, any trade wishes have been aimed at a backup or competition, not replacing Jarry.
“First of all, ‘Jarrs’–when I first came in–he was very good right through the end. And then you get in the playoffs, obviously we know what happened there. As I said at the end of the year, I think ‘Jarrs’ grew from the experience,” Hextall said. “And when you look back at goaltenders in the playoffs, there’s a lot of up and downs with most goaltenders. I mean, you go back to guys like Patrick Roy, who had downtimes in the playoffs, and we expect ‘Jarrs’ to grow from it. Come in here, be a pro, work hard, and obviously, his job is to stop the puck.
So far, he’s come in, and he looks good.”
Hextall brings up an important point that many of the growing anti-Jarry crowd may lose in translation. He was very good…until those six games in May. Short training camps and COVID-forced lack of available preparation before camp put goalies at a disadvantage. Jarry was brutal at the start of the 2020-21 season and had to ride the pine for a couple of weeks to reset and reboot.
Once Jarry got his legs beneath him, literally and figuratively, his stats and his game elevated to No. 1 goalie levels. Nary a complaint was heard.
Until those six games in May.
“I can take a step forward and improve because (this summer) I was able to work on a lot of things for my game that I think will help during the season,” Jarry said.
Tristan Jarry Changes
The Penguins also made a change around Jarry. Gone is goalie coach Mike Buckley, who held the job since the Penguins hired him in 2017 based on his strong relationship with former Penguins starting goalie Matt Murray. Organization goalie coach Andy Chiodi was promoted to the Pittsburgh Penguins job to work with Jarry and DeSmith.
“I had Andy in Wilkes, so we have a good relationship. We started out there,” Jarry said. “It’s a good step forward. He has some new philosophies that I think will help my game.”
Last season, Tristan Jarry posted a middling .909 save percentage but was a healthy 25-9-3 in 39 games.
New goalie coach and new pads. Jarry also went with a new color scheme on the leg pads that will surely stand out. They aren’t quite the all-black Darth Vader pads that former Penguins prospect goalie Emil Larmi favored, but they’re close.
Jarry went mostly black pads with just a bit of yellow. Old hockey lore worries the contrast between black pads and white ice gives shooters an advantage because they can see the goalie’s holes more clearly. Count Jarry as indifferent to those worries, too.
“It’s a personal preference. You see all around the league. Guys are doing red pads. (Marc-Andre) Fleury did a brown set,” Jarry said. “There are lots of guys who wear black. I think it’s just personal preference this year, so I thought I’d change it up.”
The Pittsburgh Penguins will have a tough battle for their 16th consecutive playoff berth. Regular-season Jarry must be very good for the team to have a chance, especially–because you may have heard–Sidney Crosby will be out for a bit, and Evgeni Malkin will be out for at least two months.
Of course, Pittsburgh judges players a bit differently. Regular seasons are essential, but post-season games–and results–are the verdict. It took years and a change of venue for former Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to live down playoff disasters in 2012 and 2013.
For Tristan Jarry, it’s “just back to work.”