Penguins notebook: Dupuis cleared to play after blood clot treatment
The Penguins’ most impactful offseason addition may have come nearly three weeks shy of free agency.
Winger Pascal Dupuis, the team’s emotional leader and arguably the most popular personality in the Penguins’ dressing room, was cleared Thursday to resume workouts, skate and take contact.
“I feel strong,” Dupuis told Trib Total Media. “I feel powerful. I’m in great shape. It’s just a matter of getting my hockey shape back.”
Dupuis had been out since November with a blood clot in his lung. He said his lungs were tested in May, and everything checked out fine.
Instead of Coumadin, he will now begin injecting Lovenox, an anticoagulant also known as Enoxaparin.
On Coumadin, Dupuis would have to monitor his INR numbers, which could be affected by the foods he ate (specifically Vitamin K). Lovenox does not have any such concerns.
“I would have to eat the same things daily, so my numbers didn’t change,” Dupuis said. “But now that I’m starting something different, there’s no restriction on what you can eat or do. So that’s a good thing.”
Hockey workouts with other people will be enjoyable, Dupuis said. He had regularly skated before games and practices by himself or with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar.
“I’m really good with the puck right now,” Dupuis joked, “but I don’t know if I’ll be able to give it to somebody quick enough.”
Dupuis, who has played a combined 55 games over the past two regular seasons, anticipates a few teammates looking skeptically at him at first — but will ultimately be thrilled to get back to something resembling hockey.
“Contact will come,” Dupuis said. “Knowing the guys, they’ll be a little bit shy at first to make sure everything’s OK. But the fact that I didn’t have any contact was not because it was going to hurt me; it was because of the medication I was on.”
While Dupuis isn’t focusing on playing games — “Whenever we get there, we get there,” he said — he’s grateful to have an entire summer to get used to functioning on the new medication and getting back into hockey shape.
“Obviously, it’s not perfect yet,” Dupuis said. “I don’t have a full handle on it. That’s why I want to start in the summer as well, not from Day 1 of camp, you know? I wanted to start it right away to see how I would feel, to also get ready for the season itself on the ice.”
Rutherford revealed a few changes to the Penguins hockey operations department on Thursday.
Jacques Martin will become an assistant coach for the 2015-16 season and watch games from the GM’s suite at Consol Energy Center .
Rutherford also said assistant GM Bill Guerin will “do more in player development; pro scouting; a little pre-scouting but not too much; seeing more of the tournaments in Europe and looking at potential free agents.”
Rutherford said he expects assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald and associate GM Jason Botterill to have similar duties. Fitzgerald did a lot of scouting, and Botterill handled salary-cap issues. Both spent time with the club’s AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre.
Reports out of Montreal, La Presse and TVA Sports, respectively, on Thursday said the Penguins would not bring back Christian Ehrhoff, Paul Martin and Maxim Lapierre, who are all unrestricted free agents.
Rutherford said no decisions on UFAs have been made, other than Craig Adams not returning.
“I don’t want to cross anybody off the list because you don’t know what happens here in the next month,” Rutherford said.
Paul Martin’s agent, Ben Hankinson, said the Penguins are still in play.
“No decisions have been made yet on Paul and the Penguins,” Hankinson told Trib Total Media in a text message. “Not ruling out coming back.”