Jeff Petry and Ryan Poehling said they were happy to begin the new chapter of their careers, a day after being traded from the Montreal Canadiens to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
• To read also: CH: Mike Matheson, “a five-star human being”
• Read also: Montreal Canadiens: Jeff Petry and Ryan Poehling head for Pittsburgh
It was an open secret that Petry's days were numbered in the Quebec metropolis, he who had asked to pack his bags to be closer to his family in the United States. He breathed a sigh of relief when his agent told him that general manager Kent Hughes had traded his services in return for those of Quebecer Mike Matheson.
“I was in the basement playing with two of my boys, said the American fullback by videoconference on Sunday. My phone was in the other room and I had a missed call from [Hughes]. My agent called me immediately to let me know that the deal was done.
"I broke the news to my wife and kids, and everyone was extremely happy to be joining the Penguins."
Petry said it will only take her a four-hour drive to travel between Pittsburgh and her home in Michigan, making her family life easier.
“The last few years, with COVID, have not been easy for anyone,” he noted. But living in Canada, very far from my family, was very difficult. I had problems both on and off the ice last season.
“There are a lot of things [in Montreal] that we really enjoyed. But it's good that this chapter is behind us and that we are closer to home."
Beyond the practical benefits of this transaction, Petry is leaving a rebuilding team to join an organization that will aim for top honors until the retirement of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kristopher Letang.
“I'm happy to play with these guys rather than having to watch them in defense, he concluded. The most exciting thing for me is to join a team that is ready to win.”
Poehling ready to learn
Since being selected in the first round in 2017, Ryan Poehling has never been able to prove beyond doubt that he deserves his place in the Bettman circuit.
He said he did not hold a grudge against the CH, but was delighted to be able to wipe the slate clean.
"I loved Montreal and the teammates I had," he said. I think [the Canadian] wanted to move on and it was a shared feeling. I wish them the best; they treated me well and I had a lot of fun.
“I'm excited to join this great [Penguins] organization. I think I will fit well in the team. Learning from some of the best players of all time will be a very rewarding experience,” he said, referring to Crosby, Malkin and Letang.