Dupuis returns to Penguins practice after scare in Edmonton
Pascal Dupuis missed two games over the weekend because of a promise he made to his wife and kids.
Last November, Dupuis had chest pains during a practice in Winnipeg and knew he might have a blood clot, but he kept it to himself and played five more games before admitting it to medical personnel.
He promised his family he would never do something that dangerous again.
Last Friday in Edmonton — a year and a day after the practice in Winnipeg — Dupuis noticed something amiss. He said he preferred to keep the precise details of his symptoms private, but it was related to a minor injury he suffered.
“It was something I saw on my leg there that didn't seem right,” Dupuis said. “Obviously, we play a contact sport. I blocked a shot, or I got slashed. Everything happens so fast out there that I probably don't remember how it happened.”
He got it checked out immediately.
“That's why we went through all that process in the last three days, to make sure,” Dupuis said. “I remember what I did last year. I remember not speaking up for what happened and how I felt. It's something I promised my wife and kids that I will never do again.
“Something didn't add up. I spoke out. That's why I didn't play the last two games. I'd rather be safe than sorry. That's why I spoke up.”
Dupuis, who has said he is taking injections of blood thinners on non-game days this season, went through some tests while in Edmonton and had more done upon returning to Pittsburgh. On Monday morning, he was medically cleared to practice and went through a 90-minute on-ice workout at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry.
He was back in his familiar spot on Sidney Crosby's left wing, participating in contact drills and looking none the worse for wear.
“Knowing his situation and things he's had to go through, (Dupuis' health is) always in the back of your mind,” Crosby said. “But at the same time, as long he's here and has a smile on his face and everything's good, you just try to enjoy it.”
Crosby wasn't alone in those sentiments. Late Friday night in Edmonton, Dupuis' teammates presented him with a gladiator helmet given after each victory to the team's hardest-working player.
Dupuis took the honor as a positive sign about the club's locker-room dynamic.
“You see how close this team has become,” he said. “It was a different group, obviously, when we started the season. Everybody had to find their role, where they fit in the 25-man hockey locker room. You can tell everybody's finding their place. It's a great locker room to be in right now.”
Coach Mike Johnston said he expects Dupuis will be cleared to play Wednesday night against Montreal.
Because the Penguins are being extraordinarily careful, Johnston said he also expects this won't be the last time Dupuis has to get checked out by doctors for symptoms that might be related to a blood clot.
“It'll be something I'll have to go through a couple times during the season if something happens,” he said, “but right now, it's behind me.”