Wednesday, July 16, 2008

We've Got Some New Guys

Here's a quick list of guys from whom the Penguins got signatures in recent days after scoring deals with Miroslav Satan and Ruslan Fedotenko: they got renewals from forwards Kris Beech, Ryan Stone, and Connor James; and new contracts with forwards Bill Thomas, who happens to be from the great city of Pittsburgh (Take that, Ryan Malone! :P), Matt Cooke, Adam Henrich, and Janne Pesonen, and defensemen T.J. Kemp, Ben Lovejoy, and 6'6", 220-pounder Joey Mormina, about whom we will speak today.

You see, the day the Mormina signing was announced, I got an email from new Friend of The Show Jennifer B. Here's an excerpt:
Hey there-

Just wanted to pop you off a quick note to congratulate (and curse) your team for signing Mormina. He's going to be sorely missed here in Albany [snoop: Just in case you didn't read the article I linked Mormina's name to above, he previously played for the AHL team the Albany River Rats].

Meet one of the new guys, Joey Mormina.

Of course I was intrigued, so I wrote her back asking what was so special about Mormina. She responded - and then some! She sent me some pictures she took of Mormina over this past season (all the photos in today's post are courtesy of Jennifer), some links, and her own opinion about the huge defender:
I like that he's gi-normous and a hard hitter. I've enjoyed watching him play here. I don't, however, like that now (if he stays in Wilkes Barre) he'll be hitting US. ;-)


As for my own personal observations on Mormina, he was an enormous (no pun intended) part of the Rats' success last season. I've also noticed that, although a formidible presence on the ice, he's not one to just randomly drop the gloves. He seems to have a clear grasp of what's worth it and what's not.


I don't know if Mormina will end up playing with Sid or if they'll keep him in Wilkes Barre, but he's a well spoken, intelligent player. Either way it's an excellent addition to the Penguins organization.

Mormina takes a break.

She included a set of links to articles written by Phil Janack of the Schenectady Daily Gazette. Two of the articles back up her points, and one has an interesting bit of trivia in it. The first article she sent was a summary of Mormina's contribution to the River Rats' 2007-08 season. The article was written in April, long before he became a Penguin:
When they needed him most, the Albany River Rats' biggest player came up, well, big.


The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Montreal native, in his third pro season, evolved into a trusted and valued leader down the stretch, dressing as a captain or alternate for 22 of Albany's last 25 games.

Mormina (on the far left) is a giant of a man.

The second article she sent laments Mormina's loss:
I'm not sure how this one happened. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Mormina, who recently turned 26, was a huge part of Albany's success last season. He played in all but three of 87 regular-season and playoff games, setting a pro career high with four goals and matching another with 13 points.

More important, he was rock solid on the blue line, particularly when the team was ravaged by injury and recall, and logged incredible minutes in the top pairing throughout the first-round series with Philadelphia. He was easy-going, well-liked and respected in the room, even serving as one of Albany's rotating captains toward the end.


This one is going to hurt not only because the Rats lose a very good player, but lose him to one of their biggest division rivals.
It really seems like signing Mormina was a fantastic acquisition for us and an unexpected exit for the River Rats.

In this shot, Mormina is to the right of goaltender Justin Peters.

Finally today, here's the article with the trivia - he played against the Penguins in his first game in the NHL:
Defenseman Joey Mormina had an eventful night in his NHL debut. He hit the post with a shot in the first period, then broke the nose of Pens' forward Jeff Taffe in a second-period collision.
Big, BIG thanks to Jennifer for the emails, the links, and sharing her photos with us. :)

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