You could forgive Pittsburgh Penguins‘ goaltending prospect Tristan Jarry for feeling that London, Ontario’s Budweiser Gardens is a home away from home. After all, winning a Memorial Cup can make one have fond feelings for a city.
“Obviously when I first walk on the ice, it’s kind of like a flashback, seeing all the moments happen,” Jarry said. “All I remember walking out there is Curtis Lazar running back to me in the last 10 seconds of the game. It’s always cool to come back here and remember the memories that we had here.”
Jarry manufactured more good memories in his 2015 rookie camp debut Saturday night, holding the Ottawa Senators rookie squad team scoreless for 59:17:8. He faced 35 shots with only one getting by him in a 4-1 victory
“You’re waiting all summer just to play a game. It’s not shinny hockey any more. It’s a little different. Obviously you’re here to get out there and see what you can do after a long summer,” he said.
Though Jarry wasn’t really tested in his debut game, he said he’s well aware that he’s not in junior any more.
“You get taught right away in practice that they shoot the puck a lot faster and, obviously, it goes in the net a lot faster,” he said. “That’s one of the things I’ve been working on is following the puck and making sure that I’m tracking it all the way and making sure my practice habits are good.
“Obviously the shots are a lot harder and the game’s a lot quicker, so obviously I’ll have to adjust to that. I’ll have to learn real quickly and adjust to that.”
Jarry, the Penguin’s second-selection in the 2013 NHL Draft, said he has a good mentor helping him along the way – his crease competition and friend, Matt Murray, a third-round selection for the Penguins in the 2012 NHL Draft.
“Matt and I have been friends for a long time, through Team Canada and with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization,” he said. “It’s good to get back together. Goalies always want to improve and push each other.”
And despite the fact that they’re both competing for the same crease, Jarry insists there’s no negative feelings. They’re honestly friends and honestly supportive of each other. He said the key to success is making sure the competition doesn’t leave the rink.
“You keep it on the ice. On the ice we want to beat each other and push each other. But off the ice, we’re always hanging out,” Jarry said. “We’re roommates here and in Pittsburgh. I think that’s one of the best things you can have, a goalie tandem to be friends off the ice and always wanting to push each other off the ice.
“I asked him what it’s like to make the jump from junior to pro. He’s always had positive feedback for me and I’m going to take every bit of it and apply it to my game.”
Jarry enters the season knowing he’ll be playing in the professional ranks – likely in a netminding platoon with his friend Murray on Pittsburgh’s Wilkes-Barre AHL franchise. He said he feels the path he’s taken to get to this point will help him deal with the challenges ahead.
“I started out in my junior career as a backup for the first two years. And then my first year [as a starter] I got thrown into it and we went all the way to the Memorial Cup. I was very fortunate to have a year like that my first year as a starter,” Jarry said. “Then last year, not having the greatest start and going through the ups and down – it’s something you have to deal with and something you have to learn to deal with.
“I think that was one of the biggest things for me last year, was learning to not get too high and not get too low.”
And he’s set fairly simple goals for himself – get better in all aspects of the game and, most importantly, get up to speed.
“I think just a little bit of everything,” he said. “I’m still growing and I’m still getting bigger, so it’s getting bigger, stronger, and even a little faster so that I can deal with the pace of the hockey.”
Follow Jason Menard on Twitter via @