Healthy and focused, Thomas Di Pauli ready to make an impact with Penguins

By Tom Venesky - [email protected] | September 17th, 2017 11:35 pm

Training Camp Notes

• Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach Clark Donatelli said training camp for the AHL Penguins will begin Sept. 24. The Penguins begin the preseason on Sept. 27 hosting the Hershey Bears.

• New forward Colin Smith wasn’t on the ice on Sunday due to an injury, according to Donatelli. Tom Sestito is day-to-day and Donatelli didn’t think he would be out long-term.

• Pittsburgh signed forward Jordy Bellerive, 18, to a three-year entry level contract. Bellerive led all Penguins at the rookie tournament with seven points in three games and has been impressive during training camp. He return to juniors for this season and could play for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the future.

“This is something you dream of as a kid,” Bellerive said. “With me not getting drafted it was disappointing. I kind of had this in the back of my mind and to get it done is a dream come true.”

CRANBERRY TWP. — Dealing with lingering injuries can take the fun out of anything.

Especially hockey.

During his rookie season last year, Thomas Di Pauli suffered an injury in training camp and, when he returned in December, was hurt again and missed the rest of the season. He played in just 21 games and scored two goals after having high hopes as a prospect fresh out of Notre Dame.

Now, as Di Pauli enters his second training camp with Pittsburgh, he’s healthy and optimistic.

“I got healed up, had a good summer of training and now I’m focused and enjoying the sport again,” Di Pauli said.

And it shows.

Di Pauli scored two goals in the rookie tournament last week, and through the first three days of Pittsburgh’s training camp he’s been noticeably faster on the ice. Now, Di Pauli hopes to play in one of Pittsburgh’s upcoming preseason games and continue to make an impression.

Particularly on the offensive side of things, now that his speed is back.

“I didn’t have the quickness to get to loose pucks last year,” Di Pauli said. “I feel much faster and stronger, and hopefully that helps with grittiness around the net and scoring some dirty goals.”

While last season was frustrating due to the injuries, Di Pauli said he still made some positive strides on and off the ice. Dealing with injuries, he said, made him a stronger, more determined player.

Now that the injuries are healed, Di Pauli is determined to finally make an impact on the ice and maybe get into a few NHL games with Pittsburgh this season.

“One of my goals this year is to make an impact wherever I’m playing - Wilkes-Barre or Pittsburgh,” he said. “This summer I really focused on my habits and details, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt this good in my career.”

Di Pauli
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/web1_Di-Pauli.jpgDi Pauli
Penguins’ Thomas Di Pauli defends against Hartford’s John Gilmour during a game last season at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township.
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/web1_TTL032217Pens3CMYK.jpgPenguins’ Thomas Di Pauli defends against Hartford’s John Gilmour during a game last season at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township. Times Leader File Photo

By Tom Venesky

[email protected]

Training Camp Notes

• Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach Clark Donatelli said training camp for the AHL Penguins will begin Sept. 24. The Penguins begin the preseason on Sept. 27 hosting the Hershey Bears.

• New forward Colin Smith wasn’t on the ice on Sunday due to an injury, according to Donatelli. Tom Sestito is day-to-day and Donatelli didn’t think he would be out long-term.

• Pittsburgh signed forward Jordy Bellerive, 18, to a three-year entry level contract. Bellerive led all Penguins at the rookie tournament with seven points in three games and has been impressive during training camp. He return to juniors for this season and could play for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the future.

“This is something you dream of as a kid,” Bellerive said. “With me not getting drafted it was disappointing. I kind of had this in the back of my mind and to get it done is a dream come true.”

Reach Tom Venesky at 570-991-6395 or on Twitter @TomVenesky


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