The Domingue Penguins goaltender lacked effort, motivation and confidence before the call of the pens
It’s not often that a player stuns the media with a brutally honest story. New Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Louis Domingue opened the vault on Wednesday afternoon, and the resulting story of adversity and struggles left even seasoned writers a little speechless.
Usually a conversation with a third goaltender is an uneventful exchange of simple questions and mundane answers. This is not the case on Wednesday.
Domingue, 29, mentioned in passing his effort during the last stops. PHN followed to clarify. Did he just admit that he lacked the effort or motivation? These are not words you want to deduce or put in the mouth of a professional athlete.
“No no No. I don’t want to hide behind someone that I’m not. So if I had to tell you that I’ve made every effort over the past two years… I haven’t,” he said. started Domingue.
Since 2017-18 and 18-19, Domingue has not been able to buy green bananas. After three seasons in Arizona, where he played 77 NHL games, he was traded to Tampa Bay. He spent two seasons at Tampa Bay and split 2017-18 between Tampa Bay and his AHL club in Syracuse. However, Domingue’s career then degenerated.
In the last two seasons shaken by COVID, Domingue has worked five sweaters. He played for the Syracuse Crunch, Binghamton Devils, New Jersey Devils and Vancouver Canucks in 2019-2020. Then last season, he was a prisoner of the taxi team, not playing for the Calgary Flames or their AHL team in Stockton.
Most clubs isolated their team of taxis to limit their exposure to potential COVID outbreaks, so it was a small club with limited ice time and little love. The hockey version of a crushed Siberian prison Domingue.
“When I look back I left some on the table, left some on the table in Jersey, not because I wasn’t working hard, but for me it all depends on my head space – how I approach my work and my game and my level of motivation, ”admitted Domingue. “And this summer – you don’t have to look any further than this summer – I wasn’t in a good headroom at all. I didn’t believe in myself. I didn’t believe I could be back where I was and to be honest my game on the ice, even in training, didn’t show it either… ”
“So how can you believe it?” “
The reserve guards are jostling each other. Teams, fans and even teammates often expect them to be all up for the call. But it is not that simple. For anyone who self-quarantined during the pandemic, imagine the isolation combined with changing jobs five times, moving and lugging suitcases from town to town.
It was a brutal course that got the better of Louis Domingue.
“I bounced back that year when I went from Tampa to Syracuse, Binghamton, Jersey to Vancouver, then in the bubble, then I went to Calgary where I played – I didn’t really play. », Declared Domingue. “I trained with three people on the ice every morning before the team trained.
Isolation, inactivity and instability.
Don’t worry, the story has a happy turn. The Pittsburgh Penguins don’t have a disgruntled or demotivated goaltender. No no no. Rather the opposite.
“I came here thinking I was motivated, but I really wasn’t. And now that has really, really changed for me, like, instantly, I feel it, ”said Domingue. “And that’s something that’s hard to come by, and right now I’m feeling it. I feel motivated. I feel like I’m going somewhere. And I made the decision to invest everything in myself and in the way that I couldn’t leave anything behind.
You can probably imagine from what he said that Domingue’s performance was not up to par. He hasn’t recorded a save percentage north of .900 in any save in seven games with the Binghamton Devils in 2019-20, and before that he has stopped more than nine of 10 shots since he was supported the Tampa Bay Lightning for 26 games in 2018-19 and posted a 0.908 percentage.
But after that run at Tampa Bay, he lived in a suitcase for two seasons. Last season, he hit rock bottom with a .859 save rate in three games for the Stockton Heat in the insignificant AHL campaign.
Just because Domingue was on a list doesn’t mean he was with a team. The taxi squad was sometimes like a punishment; while the team was training and playing, the team had to hang out, split up at the hotel, split up on the ice, mostly excluded from team activities, and no games to satisfy the itch.
“I bounced back that year when I went from Tampa to Syracuse, to Binghamton, to Jersey to Vancouver, then in the bubble, then I went to Calgary where I played – I didn’t play, really. I trained with three people on the ice every morning before the team trained…
“It was very difficult not only for me and for my game, but also for my mental approach to the game and my sanity. It was really tough and tough balancing family and hockey and staying motivated, ”admitted the goalie. “It’s difficult when you’re not involved in team activities. So last year was really tough. And this long summer, I haven’t really had any bites, either in Europe or here. And I don’t blame them. My game was showing nothing … “
The human element.
Maybe you can relate. Maybe one player who lifts the veil of struggles, adversity, and mental challenge when what you love is taken away makes a few more players appear to be human beings.
COVID and the uproar have been an unpleasant challenge for many. Add the uncertainty of the job and the motivation can evaporate.
Domingue is doing it. A big blow to Andy Chiodo, who was promoted to goaltending coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins from an organizational position this summer.
“I had a good conversation with (new Penguins goaltender coach) Andy Chiodo. And I have never been in a better space since, ”beamed Domingue. “I immediately worked on some things in my game that really made sense to me. And it kind of changed my frame of mind, the way I looked at things, and I’m in a good frame of mind right now.
The Penguins lacked a trusted third goaltender last May when replacement Casey DeSmith was injured and starter Tristan Jarry melted against the New York Islanders. And the Penguins have a goalie who feels like a weight has been lifted.
Beyond feeling rejuvenated and eager to replay, the beginning of the story already feels like a happy ending.
“We think it has a lot of advantages. He has experience in the NHL first and foremost, and we felt we needed more depth in this role, ”said Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan. “And in the event that we are hit (injured) in that position, depth is of critical importance. And so we think he’s a guy who has the potential in the NHL, that he’s a guy who, depending on what happens in the future, that we could put in the lineup in Pittsburgh. “