Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Dea Makes Quick Turnaround after Busy Weekend

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Dea Makes Quick Turnaround after Busy Weekend

Article excerpt

Rookie center Jean-Sebastien Dea had a busier weekend than most of his teammates.

While the majority of the Penguins - basically everyone except Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang - took the All-Star break to relax and enjoy the last significant time away from the ice they'll get until the season ends, Dea was making two drives across the state of Pennsylvania.

Friday night, Dea drove from Pittsburgh to Wilkes-Barre, having been sent down to the AHL to get some work while the NHL team was off. Saturday night, he scored the opening goal in a 4-3 overtime win against Binghamton. There was a day off Sunday before he hopped right back on the Pennsylvania Turnpike Monday morning to be back in Pittsburgh for a 3 p.m. NHL practice.

"It was good," Dea said. "It was good to keep the legs moving, keep the pace and I'm excited to be back."

There's a reason the Penguins brought him back, too. Dea has taken over fourth-line center responsibilities over the past four games and has started to look more and more comfortable in that role. He scored his first NHL goal in a 3-1 win Tuesday against Carolina, then logged a season-high 7:36 of ice time in the win Thursday against the Minnesota Wild in the last game before the break.

"Obviously, the more games I've played, the more confidence I've felt," Dea said. "You can see in the game, the more I play I obviously feel better. Every game, I just feel more comfortable, can make more plays."

From a comfort perspective, it helps that, for the past two games, Dea's wingers on the fourth line have been Tom Kuhnhackl and Bryan Rust. The trio played together in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton two years ago and already is well-acquainted with one another's skill set.

"We help each other well," Dea said. "Rusty's fast, Kuhny works hard, blocks some shots. I think we [complement] each other pretty well."

And while Dea is quick to give credit to his linemates, he has played a role, as well. Even if, at 5 feet 11, 175 pounds, he is not a prototypical "checking line" center, he gets the job done.

"When you first look at him, you think he's a smaller guy, but that has nothing to do with his work ethic," Kuhnhackl said. …

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