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Penguins

Ex-Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy set to try out new PPG Paints Arena boards

Jonathan Bombulie
| Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, 7:09 p.m.
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nick Jensen (3) checks New Jersey Devils defenseman Ben Lovejoy (12) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, in Detroit.
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nick Jensen (3) checks New Jersey Devils defenseman Ben Lovejoy (12) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, in Detroit.

Throughout recent Penguins history, a few signature plays have become associated with particular players.

For example, a quick one-timer off an offensive-zone faceoff win is a James Neal Play or a long, high lob out of the defensive zone is a Larry Murphy Dump.

Imagine Ben Lovejoy’s surprise to find out he’s a member of that exclusive club.

When a defenseman fires a puck from the point intentionally wide of the net to send a rebound off the end boards into the slot, he has taken a Ben Lovejoy Shot. It’s the 34-year-old defenseman’s signature move.

“I’m not sure whether to be honored or sad that this is what I’m remembered for,” joked Lovejoy, who played 184 games for the Penguins and was a key contributor on the 2016 Stanley Cup championship team.

The Lovejoy strategy is becoming more and more prevalent in the NHL these days for a couple of reasons.

First, NHL defensemen continue to make blocking shots a priority.

Second, new boards that have been installed in many NHL rinks in recent years are springier than their predecessors. For instance, after a recent trip to Detroit, Lovejoy said he found the boards at the new Little Caesars Arena to be as active as the old ones at Joe Louis Arena.

It was a common topic of conversation at the beginning of the season as players got used to PPG Paints Arena’s new boards.

“There’s a lot of geometry in the game,” Lovejoy said. “Anything you can do to bypass that first pair of shot blockers to try to get pucks in deep and to the net, you’ve got to take advantage of.”

Follow the Pittsburgh Penguins all season long.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at jbombulie@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.

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