We are very excited to launch and share our newest series #PENSultimate with you. This space with feature exclusive interviews with Penguins alumni.
Pens Report strives to provide you with "top shelf" quality content and this series is just another example of that.
Our very first #PENSultimate player is Scarborough, Ontario native, Wayne Primeau.
Centre Wayne Primeau was drafted 17th overall in the 1994 entry draft by the Buffalo Sabres and spent his first couple of seasons toiling in the OHL and AHL respectively. (Notable Pens selected in that draft include: Chris Wells, Richard Park, Sven Butenschon, Greg Crozier.)
By 1996, Wayne was a full time NHLer on his way to grinding out a fantastic 14 year career playing for 7 teams (the Sabres, Lightning, Penguins, Sharks, Bruins, Flames, Leafs) and earning the reputation of being one of the finest defensive specialists to lace up a pair of skates.
How did he become a Penguin?
Primeau was Pittsburgh bound on February 1st, 2001. When he was traded to the Penguins by the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Matthew Barnaby.
Wayne would appear in parts of three seasons for Pittsburgh (sccumulating 131 GP, 9G, 24A, 33P & 127 PIM). He also would miss the majority of the 2001-2002 season after suffering a knee injury. Coincidentally, suffered against the Sabres on January 8, 2002.
In an interesting twist, the deal that sent Primeau to the Flames in ‘06 (via Boston) also involved Penguins Alumni- Andrew Ference and Chuck Kobasew.
To view full career statistics visit- hwww.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=11363
WITHOUT FURTHER ADIEU HERE IS OUR CONVERSATION WITH WAYNE PRIMEAU:
“I have heard that a few times now but I actually scored against Chris Terreri. Martin Brodeur started the game but was pulled before I scored my first NHL goal. I did although score on Brodeur a couple times in my career and it definitely is a good feeling as he will go down as one of the best goalies to ever play the game.”
You sustained some pretty significant injuries during your career (ankle and knee, specifically) How did they impact the way you played the game? and did you have to make any adjustments to your training/exercise program?
“It’s amazing how it works. Some guys can go a whole career without getting injured. It was a tough pill to swallow that year in Pittsburgh when I tore my ACL. I really felt my game was coming around and then to have that injury to end my season it was hard to accept. Injuries never changed the way I played. I always tried to rehab hard and get myself back to the best possible shape to be able to play to the best of my ability.”
Who was the fiercest competitor you faced, on the ice or off?
“I would have to say my brother Keith. He had a very high compete level and hated losing at anything he did. It was great to be able to train in the summers with him because he was always able to push me and vice versa.”
“I would definitely have to say losing in the Stanley Cup finals with the Buffalo Sabres to the Dallas Stars. It was game 6 and I had lost my edge a couple times as it went to triple overtime. When I was getting my skates sharpened there were media people waiting to get on the ice if Dallas was to win the game. Brett Hull would score the GW but the problem was his foot was in the crease when he scored and all year many goals had been called back for having a foot in the crease. When he scored, the floodgates opened and there was no turning back. The league wouldn’t call it no goal as it would of made the league look silly. Unfortunately for us the league would change the rule the next year of “skate in the crease” was no longer.”
You played in Pittsburgh for three seasons. Do you have any fond memories of the city and can you share any stories from the ice/locker room?
“For me it was the chance to play with my boyhood idol Mario Lemieux. It was pretty surreal.
It would also have to be the year I was traded there we made it to the Conference Finals but eventually lost to New Jersey Devils. I really thought it was going to be the year as Mario had come out of retirement that year and I truly believed it was going to happen.
Also remember Marc Bergevin, probably one of the funniest guys i ever played with. The late Ivan Hlinka was our coach and his English wasn’t very good. We were playing in Buffalo and as we were getting off the bus and entering the arena, we needed to pass by security first. Marc decided to tell the security that there was a grey haired man following us, that didn’t speak English and could they please deny him entry. So as Ivan was walking in, the security stopped him and told him to leave. Well Ivan was trying to tell them he was the coach and they didn’t believe him. Eventually they were told he was the coach and they let him pass by. It’s a story I will never forget.”
You were considered a defensive/penalty kill specialist. What would say were the most significant changes to those roles in the post-lockout NHL?
“I still believe teams have certain players/lines that match up against the other teams top lines and certain players that will only kill penalties. So I don’t believe it has changed that much but I do believe that there are four full lines that can play now as opposed to the fourth line that was more of your enforcer line back in the day.”
What are some of the key lessons that you try to instill in the player's (attitude, conduct on/off ice) that attend your hockey school (Durham Hockey Institute)?
“For me it would have to be compete and the willingness to listen and learn.”
How would would you sum up your career in one sentence?
“I was a hard worker and good teammate that did whatever was asked of by my coaches to help my team and was very fortunate to be able to play 14 seasons in the greatest league in the world, the NHL.”
Did you always have a passion for food/food service industry and what can people expect if they pay a visit to “Shagwells On The Ridge” (Primeau's restaurant)?
“Not really. I own it with my brother Keith and brother in law Derrick Smith who is the manager of it. He is great a cooking and comes up with some real good dishes. Its at the UOIT Ice campus in Oshawa and we get lots of college students but also parents watching their kids play hockey. I guess it’s only fitting it would be in an arena.”
...We hope you enjoyed the first in what will be many #PENSultimate player interviews. Leave some comments and let us know who you want to see profiled.
Till next time remember #OnceAPenguin always a Penguin!