Two Boston guys decided to spend the summer working out together. Their position coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Todd Reirden, is still beaming about the benefits that veteran Brian Dumoulin and younger player John Marino gained from that.
Dumoulin is on the Penguins’ top defensive pairing with core player Kris Letang. Marino, in his third season out of Harvard, has been playing on the second pairing with Marcuss Pettersson.
But during the offseason, it was Dumoulin and Marino who made a good workout pair.
“That was, I think, a great decision by John, and a great leadership move by Brian,” Reirden said Wednesday after the Penguins practiced at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. “I thought really an impressive move by both of them. It was something that worked really well.”
The two are different types of defensemen.
Dumoulin, 30, began as a stay-at-home guy who helps support Letang’s offensive skills, although Dumoulin has rounded his game to include good, smart puck movement.
Marino, 24, has strong instincts and skills with the potential to be a high-end offensive defensemen.
Still, grueling summer workouts are equal opportunity, and Dumoulin and Marino made the most of them together.
It might be compared to Letang over the summer working out in the same group as Penguins defensive prospect P.O. Joseph in the Montreal area.
“I know that John has looked up to Brian in his time here in Pittsburgh and knew of him from being out that way,” Reirden said. “They had a relationship prior to joining the Penguins, but now it’s even grown stronger. They really seem to connect on and off the ice.”
Dumoulin is still the older, wiser one of the two.
“I think it’s a perfect mentor and role model for John to have. Brian … we’ve talked for a long time about his work ethic and perseverance and his path to get to the NHL and how he’s become the player he has. It’s something I think both people have gained from.
“Whenever you’re becoming a young leader and you’re taking on a bigger role on your team in terms of leadership, then the more times you can put yourself those situations, it allows you to improve as a leader. I think it’s really carried over to help Brian with what he’s done with our team this year, especially missing some of our leaders. I think he’s really taken a step in terms of his leadership within our team. I think part of that was going through this summer’s experience of helping out John.
“So it’s been a win-win that situation.”