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Penguins sign Carcillo to tryout contract

| Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, 10:09 a.m.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
The Flyers' Daniel Carcillo is separated from the Penguins' Matt Cooke during the third period of their first round Stanley Cup playoff game on Wednesday, April 16, 2009, at Mellon Arena.
James M. Kubus | Trib Total Media
The Penguins drafted Daniel Carcillo in the third round of the NHL draft in 2003.

Maybe the Penguins' next move should be remodeling the penalty box at Consol Energy Center.

After signing forward Daniel Carcillo to a professional tryout contract Thursday, the Penguins potentially could have two players — forward Steve Downie is the other — who have combined for nearly 2,000 penalty minutes over their careers, including an average of nearly 220 per 82-game season.

“They know what I do,” Carcillo said. “Everyone knows my role.”

Carcillo, 29, was drafted by the Penguins 73rd overall in 2003, though he broke into the NHL with the Coyotes in 2006.

After 390 games and 1,179 penalty minutes later, Carcillo is back — albeit for a chance to make the club.

“It's exciting to go back there and try to earn a job,” Carcillo said. “I think I can definitely get a contract out of training camp.”

If he does, expect plenty of ire from opposing teams given the nastiness that could come from a Downie/Carcillo partnership.

Not that general manager Jim Rutherford is worried about the public perception of the Penguins, especially not when it comes to protecting star center Sidney Crosby.

“If those guys play the way they're capable of playing, I think that's a good thing,” Rutherford said. “When you look at players like that, you want players who can also play the game. I believe both of these guys can.”

Carcillo started last season with the Los Angeles Kings and finished with the New York Rangers — in familiar fashion, too.

He was suspended for 10 games (later reduced to six) for physical abuse of an official in the Eastern Conference final and played for a team — the Rangers — that reached the Stanley Cup Final.

It was Carcillo's sixth suspension in eight years, and it was the third time in the past five seasons that he was on one of the NHL's top two clubs, winning a Cup with Chicago in 2013.

“The experience of being in the Cup Finals three of the past five years, there's something to be said about having success,” Carcillo's agent, Kevin Epp, said. “You know what it takes to win and what you need to do.”

Which in Carcillo's case means to stir the pot, to make people mad and protect his team's stars, a role he perfected while he was with the Flyers for parts of three seasons between 2008-11.

Penguins fans cursed Carcillo often, especially during an infamous fight against Max Talbot. Carcillo won the bout, yet Talbot's hand gesture became one of the pictures most associated with the 2009 Cup run.

Carcillo's fight card includes few bouts against current Penguins, only two apiece with Downie (a third in the AHL) and forward Craig Adams, with whom Carcillo could compete for playing time.

“Hockey is a small world,” Carcillo said. “Nobody really holds grudges, especially if you're trying to be on their side. I don't anticipate any problems.”

Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jmackey@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.

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