CRANBERRY TWP, PA (93.7 The Fan) – Pens defenseman Mark Friedman got a call from Todd Reirden on Monday about his availability the following day.
“They asked if it would be cool to play against my former team, I said ‘yeah’,” Friedman said on Wednesday. And like that the 5’11” defenseman becomes part of the rare group that have played for both the Flyers and the Penguins.
It’s a mixed bag of star level from Jaromir Jagr, Mark Recchi, Rick Tocchet, Paul Coffey, Kevin Stevens, Max Talbot to Eric Meloche, Arron Asham, Steve Downie, Richard Park and Hal Gill.
Friedman is more the latter, at least at this point in the 25-year-olds career. Told by his new Penguin teammates Tuesday, ‘no friends on the ice’. Friedman seemed to relish in getting a roughing call against Michael Raffl late in the game.
Claimed off waivers by the man who drafted him in the third round in 2014, new Pens GM Ron Hextall. He knows what Hextall expects, saying he will be a good teammate in or out of the lineup.
“I thought Mark had a strong game,” said Pens head coach Mike Sullivan. “He’s a good skater. He’s a mobile guy. He can move the puck. He’s got a little edge to him. I think he is going to fit in fine.”
Friedman believes that as well. That it’s a good system for him. He’s working like a high school kid to get up to speed.
“The coaches have been on my butt to download a couple of apps where we have the systems on,” Friedman said. “I’ve been studying them like the SATs or the ACTs. Still not 100%, but learning every day here.”
“No better coaches to learn from than the ones we have in Pittsburgh. Super excited for this opportunity and will soak everything up like a sponge.”
“Certainly he’s a young guy that we think can be a part of this young mix of defensemen that we have,” Sullivan said. “That can give us a compliment of defensemen that make us competitive. I think with his strengths, including his ability to see the ice and his competitiveness. I think with those attributes, he’s a guy that could fit in here in Pittsburgh.”