Bragging rights at stake for Penguins’ Aston-Reese, Sharks’ Labanc |

Bragging rights at stake for Penguins’ Aston-Reese, Sharks’ Labanc

Joe Rutter
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson, left, of Sweden, celebrates a goal by center Zach Aston-Reese (46) during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019, in Newark, N.J.

Zach Aston-Reese is looking forward to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ game Thursday night against San Jose, and not simply because it will be his fifth consecutive game on the ice since he missed 13 with an injury.

Aston-Reese will be playing against Sharks right winger Kevin Labanc. Like Aston-Reese, Labanc is a native of Staten Island in New York, which is not exactly considered a hockey hotbed like, say, Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia.

“We’re a little more anonymous,” Aston-Reese said with a laugh when a comparison was made between the Staten Island duo and Cole Harbour’s Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon.

Aston-Reese and Labanc are the only current NHL players that hail from the New York City borough. A third Staten Island native son, Joe Gambardella, was called up for four games earlier this year by the Edmonton Oilers but is back in the minors.

“It’s my first time playing against him,” Aston-Reese said about the impending matchup against Labanc. “I’m excited about that.”

Aston-Reese, 24 is a year older than Labanc, who is in his third NHL season and has 11 goals, 27 assists in 60 games.

“We’ve been training together since I was 15 and he was 14,” Aston-Reese said. “I’ve been training with Kevin every time we go back home for the summer.”

Aston-Reese is hoping he can get some bragging rights on Labanc.

“It’s definitely friendly, but on the ice, you don’t have any friends, that’s why I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “We’re pretty competitive with each other.”

Labanc recorded his first career hat trick Feb. 9 at Edmonton and scored five times in a three-goal stretch before going scoreless the past two games. Aston-Reese has three points in his past two games and scored his seventh goal of the season Tuesday at New Jersey.

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Penguins
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.