The Penguins re-signed Bill Guerin and it wasn’t just because he’s a very good player.
He’s both a leader and a bonding agent in his team’s dressing room.
Todd Reirden – the head coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins – recalls:
“I played my very first NHL game in Phoenix against the Coyotes. It was well documented I was 27 years old and hadn’t played an NHL game at the time. I started the game, and I remember Billy [Guerin] making some comments before it that I was getting to start the game that night against [Jeremy] Roenick and [Keith] Tkachuk and these guys.”
The Oilers won the game and afterwards:
“[Guerin] grabbed the puck. Most times when someone plays his first game it’s ‘Congratulations on your first game,’ and he throws you the puck. But I’ll never forget the comments that he made.
“He took his time, said ‘Everyone stop getting undressed. I want to point something out that occurred today. There’s this guy that battled for the last four or five years to prove people wrong to get his chance to play in the National Hockey League. I just want to make sure that everyone understands that this guy has earned every bit of the chance he got tonight. I want to present him with this NHL game puck.’”
But according to Reirden, Guerin’s kind words that night in Phoenix are hardly out of character.
“There’s a million other things about Bill Guerin I could go on for days about … his leadership, in terms of making sure young guys are taken care of. He takes you out to dinner, makes sure you’re with four or five other guys. You’re in a brand new situation, and he makes sure you’re never alone and by yourself, and you feel part of the group. “
“It always means a lot when you’re included by someone you’re on a new team with, but when it’s your top player, it’s even more.”