12/11/15 by Matthew S. Vandriak
Unless you're a really big fan of the NHL or a Pittsburgh Penguins fan like I am, you may not have heard that Pascal Dupuis decided to retire this week at the age of 36. Unless you're a real hockey fan or a Penguins fan, you're probably saying "who"? But that anonymousness was part of what made Pascal Dupuis the player that he was.
Undrafted out of the QMJHL, Dupuis was signed by Minnesota prior to the Wild's inaugural season. After a year in the minors, Dupuis burst onto the NHL scene, scoring 15 goals his first season with the Wild in 2002/03, then netting 20 goals the following season. He played for the Wild until the 2006/07 season and scored at least 10 goals each season before being traded to the New York Rangers. He was traded from the Rangers to Atlanta in the same season, and would be traded again the following year.
With Pittsburgh in the hunt as a Stanley Cup contender in 2008, the Penguins traded for Marian Hossa, who was the top target at that season's trading deadline. Dupuis was thrown in as part of the trade from Atlanta, but proved to be much more than just a throw in for the Penguins. Dupuis would play six seasons for the Penguins, and then parts of 3 others due to injuries. Dupuis would play in 452 regular season games for the Penguins over those 9 seasons and in 77 playoff games, winning the Stanley Cup in 2009. For his career in the NHL, Dupuis played in 871 games over 15 seasons, netting 190 career goals and 409 total points. Dupuis also led the NHL in plus/minus in 2013 , finishing the season at +31.
Dupuis announced his retirement this week due to complications from blood clots, which ended his season last year. But despite not being a high profile player, his impact was felt in Pittsburgh. Dupuis was versatile enough to play on the Penguins top line with Sidney Crosby to the helping to grind it out on the 4th line. He could play on the power play, but was one of the Penguins top penalty killers during his tenure in Pittsburgh. Dupuis was known for his speed and strong skating, his energy on and off the ice, and for being a model teammate who worked hard but kept things light with his personality. Many former teammates had tweeted that Dupuis was the best teammate they ever had and all admired his work ethic, dedication, and love for the game.
Dupuis was faced with the difficult decision of retiring mid season. He didn't go out the way he had hoped it would go. All athletes want to go out like Jerome Bettis or Ray Lewis did, winning a championship and retiring on top. Dupuis had to retire mid season, after working so hard to get back to playing the past two seasons. The complications from the blood clots wouldn't go away. Dupuis has a wife and four children and had to make the decision for them. He made the right choice, family and being a husband and father are more important than any sport, no matter much Pascal Dupuis loved the game.
With that being said, as a fan I'd like to say thank you to Pascal Dupuis for the memories he gave me and lots of other Penguins fans. Thank you for being a class act both on and off the ice and for being a guy you were proud to have wearing your team's sweater. Enjoy retirement and being able to focus on your family now. We'll miss you in Pittsburgh "Duper".
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