Share This Page

Park's experience, playmaking invaluable

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The Penguins knew they were acquiring a speedy, versatile player when they agreed to terms with center Richard Park this summer.

They were also signing a mentor.

Park's five early points and strong penalty killing have been welcome this season, but his tutelage of some young players on the roster is perhaps more noteworthy.

"It was opening night in Vancouver," said center Joe Vitale, who might find himself in a battle for a spot in the lineup with Park when center Sidney Crosby returns. "I was having trouble on draws. Richard pulled me aside and talked with me, told me what he saw. He's like that."

Park's many attributes have been on display. He already has a short-handed goal, a pretty power-play assist and three even-strength points.

Scoring, however, is simply a bonus with Park, who scored his second goal this season early in the second period versus the Islanders on Tuesday night. His intangibles figure to exceed his contributions to the score sheet.

"I had played against him many times, and you could always see what a smart hockey player Richard was," left wing Craig Adams said. "He's brought that here. He knows the game. He's just a good hockey player."

Coach Dan Bylsma is pleased with Park's play and has used him in a variety of ways, even seeing time on the point during a recent power play. Although Park's defensive game has long been a strength, it was a recent play he made against the New Jersey Devils in the offensive zone that grabbed his coach's attention.

Park, seeing a rare power-play shift, floated a perfect pass to center Jordan Staal in the slot. Staal's goal was possible only because of the placement and pace of the pass.

"That," Bylsma said, "was a skilled play."

Park acknowledged that he is only scratching the surface of Bylsma's system.

"I'd like to say that I've got it down," he said. "But it's still a process."

The Penguins have no doubt that Park will figure it out in its entirety, and provide some more wisdom along the way.

"He's taken me under his wing," Vitale said. "He's been great to have around."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.