It’s easy to say that family comes first. I absolutely love my children and my wife. But the mentality of a professional hockey player is that you never admit that you’re human. You never admit pain, especially if it’s pain that no one can see.
The Penguins have been incredible about keeping me around the team while I deal with this second blood clot. It can be a very dark place to be away from the game. With my personality, I need to be around the guys. The coaches have requested that I be in every team meeting, and I’ve helped out with scouting. I travel with the team on flights under two hours and offer any insight I can from the press box.
Up there, it’s a 2D game. Everything looks so easy. There’s so much room. Then you go down to ice level and it’s a 3D game. I’m quickly learning the limitations of my coaching ability:
“Hey, why didn’t you see that passing lane?”
“Well, Duper, there was a guy right in my face jamming a stick into my ribs.”
Some of the guys have started to call me Coach Duper. I laugh it off, but it’s killing me to wear my little suit while they’re putting on their gear.
I’m 35. I know I don’t have much time left. But I’m getting out of that press box prison. I don’t care if it takes six months or a year or two years. I will get healthy. I will play in the National Hockey League again.”
— Pascal Dupuis, In my Blood