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‘They Can’t Take it Away’: Dumoulin on Empty Arenas, the Cup & Bourdain



Pittsburgh Penguins Brian Dumoulin

Brian Dumoulin may appear to be one of the quiet members of the Pittsburgh Penguins locker room, but don’t let his steady and reliable style fool you. More than a few players cite Dumoulin as a leader, even as his more popular teammates hog the attention.

The Penguins defenseman has been typically dependable again this season, even as injuries including lacerated tendons limited him to just 28 of the Penguins 70 games this season.

“I’m grateful I was able to get those 5 games in before the break. Mentally it will benefit me, Dumoulin said during his video chat on Tuesday. “When I was playing, I felt I was getting back to being a solid player. I had never been out that long in my career. I had to prove to myself I could come back.”

The Penguins steady-eddy who is tasked with being the counter-balance to defense partner Kris Letang’s dynamic and often freelancing game posted good numbers.

When Brian Dumoulin is on the ice, the Penguins have scored nearly 57% of the goals and 57% of the shots, too. Dumoulin’s replacement, Jack Johnson, who was also having a solid season, did not fare nearly as well beside Letang. Dumoulin has eight points (1g, 7a) and was a plus-17 in 28 games.

“I’m pretty honest with myself. I know if I played a good game or a bad game and I don’t need stats or points,” Dumoulin said. “…I think it’s important to be honest with yourself because that’s the only way you can get better.”

“If we win or we lose (is the most important stat). I’d rather win a game than get points.”

Good food & Anthony Bourdain

Like many of us, cable TV sparked an interest in food, restaurants, and wine. Whether it’s the Food Network, or any of the new celebrity chefs, unique food with a properly paired vintage has become a new hobby for many, including Dumoulin.

And like many foodies, the late Anthony Bourdain was the gateway drug into the world of exotic foods and things we must try before we die.

“I grew up and what got me into food and culinary arts was Anthony Bourdain. I feel like I’ve watched every one of his ‘No Reservations’ and ‘The Layover,’ pretty much anything he’s put his hands on,” Dumoulin praised. “I’ve read some of his books. (Bourdain) was influential…”

“He played a big part (in Dumoulin’s interest). He was the master, he was the best.”

Stanley Cup

“They can’t take it away from you,” Dumoulin said of the possibility of winning the Stanley Cup in an empty arena. “You’re winning the Stanley Cup, no matter where; if we were playing in my driveway for the Stanley Cup, that would be fine with me if we’re playing for the Stanley Cup.”

However, it is not known if the NHL has yet begun vetting Dumoulin’s driveway as one of the four neutral sites.

Early in the NHL’s pandemic pause, LA Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said the Stanley Cup would be tainted if it were won in front of empty seats. However, that was only a few weeks into the current eight-week quarantine and world shutdown.

Any players who then agreed with Doughty may change their minds. As Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin said, “we’ll wrap our arms around (the situation).”

“That’s something you don’t need much other motivation,” Dumoulin concluded. “…(empty arenas) takes you back to mites or squirts; we’re going into NHL arenas and there’s no one in the crowd.”

“(The Stanley Cup) is why we want to win the games.”

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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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