Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Dumoulin Forced to Take a Seat,'hit the Reset Button'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Dumoulin Forced to Take a Seat,'hit the Reset Button'

Article excerpt

Brian Dumoulin played just 14 minutes, 18 seconds Friday at Minnesota, the least amount of ice time he has seen in the past 28 regular-season games he has started and finished.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan decreased that even more, down to zero, when he made Dumoulin a healthy scratch for a game Saturday against the New Jersey Devils, inserting Steve Oleksy into the lineup and shuffling his bottom two defense pairings.

Having Dumoulin sit out was not because he no longer ranks among the top six defensemen. He does. You don't go from the top pairing to the press box - routinely - in 21 games.

But what Sullivan did was offer Dumoulin a chance to "hit the reset button."

"We felt his game has struggled a little bit as of late," Sullivan said of Dumoulin. "Sometimes as a young player, it's not a bad thing to watch a game from up top. I think it offers a really unique learning experience."

Sullivan then went out of his way to praise Dumoulin, a player who is absolutely in future plans.

"Listen, Brian Dumoulin is a good player," Sullivan said. "He's going to be a big part of this team. But we felt as though it was an opportunity for him to maybe take a step back, hit the reset button, get an opportunity to watch the game from up top, so when he does go back in the lineup, maybe he has a little bit different perspective going in. I just think it's part of the learning process."

Dumoulin averaged 20-plus minutes of ice time nine times in his first 13 games but hasn't seen that figure in his past nine. He was even through the first 13, a minus-4 over the past eight.

According to Corsica, Dumoulin has been on the ice for 3.57 goals-against per 60 minutes five-on-five. That's second worst in the NHL among defensemen who have played at least 200 minutes.

Numbers such as that can be deceiving; Dumoulin and regular defense partner Kris Letang draw tougher assignments, so you need to grade on a bit of a curve. …

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