New players feel comfortable in Penguins organization
By Josh Yohe
Published: Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, 10:33 p.m.
CALGARY, Alberta — A road trip can be particularly valuable for a new player. It has been for left wing Taylor Pyatt.
Recently acquired off waivers from the New York Rangers, Pyatt played his best game with the Penguins on Friday in Edmonton. That he is starting to become more familiar with the team's system is a reason for Pyatt's enhanced play.
“I think this trip has been a great thing for me,” Pyatt said. “It's tough when you go to a new team, but honestly the guys here have been so great. Just getting to know some of the guys, going out to dinner and spending some time together on the road, has been a great thing.”
When the Penguins acquired Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, Douglas Murray and Jussi Jokinen late last season, all four commented that the organization is unique for its ability to make players feel welcome, whether it be because of Pittsburgh's friendly nature, the nightly sellout crowds or coach Dan Bylsma's player-friendly culture.
“It's all of those things,” Pyatt said. “And the really nice thing is that everyone is so nice to you when you come here. A guy like Sid, who is such of a star, doesn't act like one. He's just one of the guys and treated me so well from the first day I came here.”
Jokinen is one of the players who have made Pyatt feel welcome.
The veteran forward joined the Penguins on trade deadline day last year and immediately grew to appreciate the organization.
“This is a really great group of guys,” Jokinen said. “It's really easy to come here. Everybody is friends with everybody, which is important. It's a little different like that, and it's a good thing.”
Like Pyatt, Jokinen agreed that the Penguins' star players don't act like stars. That, he said, is the key to the locker room's comfortable feel.
“A lot of it goes back to Sid,” Jokinen said. “He's a superstar, but he's such of a good guy. When you get traded to the Penguins, you get that text from him right away that tells you how happy he is to have your on your team. That's nice. That's the kind of thing that makes you feel good, makes you feel welcome.”
The road trip has been good for the team, Jokinen insists. He said it's a matter of time until Pyatt feels completely comfortable.
“We've had lots of team dinners, stuff like that,” he said. “It's as easy as any locker room you'll ever get to know.”
Pyatt just needs to get a better feel for Bylsma's system.
“Not there yet, but it's starting to get more familiar for me every day,” Pyatt said.
Pyatt, only a little more than a week after being claimed off waivers, seems happy with the move. He had become a healthy scratch on many nights with the Rangers, and although his speed isn't a strength, his size is something the Penguins.
Bylsma has made it clear Pyatt will be given an opportunity to win a spot in the bottom-six forward lines. He already has won over his teammates.
“I really am happy to be here,” Pyatt said. “It's just a warm group of guys, a good organization to be a part of. It's nice to get to know some of the guys.”
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.
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