Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Kevin Stevens Returns to Pittsburgh

For former NHLer Kevin Stevens, Boston will always be home. But Pittsburgh is a close second. 
"There's just something about here," Stevens said. "I love coming back here. I love Boston, but when I come back here I feel very relaxed, very at home. It's just one of those feelings.
"There are great people here. I've always loved the people here. It's a great place to call my second home."
Stevens, who played 10 seasons for Pittsburgh - as well as several more seasons working in the organization's hockey operations department - returned to his adopted city for Pittsburgh's 2017 Development Camp, which was held at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
Stevens, 52, is a longtime friend of former Pens teammate/roommate and current director of player development for Pittsburgh Mark Recchi. It was Recchi whom invited Stevens to join the team for the on- and off-ice sessions.
"I talk to 'Rex' a lot. He's running the thing. He asked me if I wanted to come down and be a part of it," Stevens said. "I love the Penguins organization and everything about (Pittsburgh). Whenever I get a chance to come back here and be a part of the Penguins and the organization and see the guys, it's great.
"When he asked me I was more than willing."
Stevens played 15 years in the NHL with Pittsburgh, Boston, Los Angeles, New York Rangers and Philadelphia. He appeared in 874 career games while scoring 726 points (329G-397A). Stevens also won two Stanley Cups with Pittsburgh in 1991-92 and compiled 106 playoff points (46G-60A) in 103 career contests.
So the Brockton, Massachusetts native has a wealth of experience and wisdom to share with the group of 41 prospects in attendance for the camp on how to be a professional in the sport.
"It's just about those guys getting here and adapting to a pro-type of practice and the pro style," Stevens said. "It's a good learning experience to come here. They're not getting killed out there. They're out there at a fast pace, learning the pro game and it gives them all an opportunity to see what this organization is all about, the people that work here, the coaches. It's a great opportunity."
Stevens, who is affectionately referred to by his nickname "Artie," had his best NHL seasons while wearing a Pens uniform. In four seasons from 1990-94 he recorded two 50-goal seasons, four 40-goal seasons and two 110-plus point seasons. He notched 54 goals and 123 points in 1991-92 while helping the Pens win their second of back-to-back Stanley Cups.
"The '91-92 team was a pretty special team," Stevens said. "It was just a great bunch of guys. When you win championships you always remember those guys, remember those teams, remember how you did it, remember all the close calls and that you almost didn't win it.
"I miss those guys. They're all a part of my life. It's been a long time. And it feels like yesterday. I can remember everything that happened in every game. It's always nice to think about that stuff when you come back here."
Stevens has had a few off-ice issues during his career, including a stint with the NHL's Substance Abuse Program. But after some soul searching he has found himself in a good place.
"I feel good now. I'm pretty happy with where I'm at in my life," he said. "It took a little while. I've had some ups and downs, but I'm here. I'm happy to be here. Whatever I can do to help. I'm just taking it a day at a time, which is good for me."
And now that Stevens is once again dipping his toe into working in hockey, he's considering getting more involved in the future.
"I love hockey. It's been a big part of my life," Steven said. "I'm just going to take it a day at a time and see what happens. I'd love to work in hockey. I'm not sure where.
Stevens added with a laugh: "But it's the only thing I really know. So if I'm going to work I better get back in hockey, or else I'm not going to work." 

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