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Kapanen Changes Lifestyle for Penguins; Hears Sullivan Challenge (+)

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Kasperi Kapanen

“It’s a way of life,” Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said. It’s not quite Hulk Hogan with training, prayers, and vitamins, but winger Kasperi Kapanen hopes to find his next level and run wild on the Penguins’ opponents. The team certainly needs it.

Last year was Kapanen’s first with the Penguins. It was an up and down season which included a benching and some tough love from Sullivan.

Kapanen, 24, was streaky and ended the season with seven points in the last seven games.

Sullivan challenged Kapanen in the offseason and continued challenging him in the preseason. The coach spoke at length about Kapanen’s preparation with some admiration.

“Kappy deserves so much credit for how hard he’s worked to get himself into the condition that he’s put himself in. You know, he’s really put it in the work throughout training camp and in the offseason to put himself in position to have success,” Sullivan began. “That’s a conversation that he and I have had over the last six months or so. And just the importance of that.”

Perhaps you remember Kapanen’s exit day interview, complete with a purple t-shirt and purple fedora (maybe a pork pie) hat. In the usually tame Pittsburgh Penguins organization, the purple ensemble was loud. It also spoke to Kapanen’s free spirit.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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