The French Connection
La connexion française – the French connection.
That’s what four players in the Penguins locker room have. And while they’ve all adjusted to American culture at different times and speeds, in the end, they all speak the same language in the Penguins locker room – both literally and figuratively.
Fleury, 26, and Talbot, 27, are the two longest-tenured Penguins of that group. They have a history that goes way back, as they both played in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League – albeit with different teams – from 2000-04.
The two were then teammates for Team Canada at the 2004 World Junior Championships before they both broke into the league for good with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League for the 2004-05 campaign.
In retrospect, it couldn’t have worked out better for the two of them to learn on the fly together. They’re now road roommates when the Penguins travel.
“I think it was nice to have Max, a guy that I knew from before,” Fleury said, who hails from Sorel. “It’s a little different with all of the English around, so it was nice to have him there.”
“It was obviously easier to adapt when you have different guys with you that come from the same place,” Talbot said. “You learn things at the same time.”
Dupuis, however, didn’t have quite as smooth a transition when he first came to the U.S.
Dupuis, 31, broke into the league in 2000 after signing a free-agent contract with Minnesota. He spent his first professional season with Cleveland of the International Hockey League, and adjusting to English was a tough transition for the Laval native.
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