Penguins

Kovacevic: No one’s leaving Casey DeSmith out in the cold anymore

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Casey DeSmith focuses on the puck at the blade of the Hurricanes' Jordan Staal. - MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

It was anything but the "dream come true" Casey DeSmith had labeled it at the time, though one could hardly tell.

It was late October in already-wintry Winnipeg, and the chill outside was exceeded only by the repeated torching of the Penguins' goaltenders. Four goals on six shots against Matt Murray, then three more on 15 shots against DeSmith in the most ignominious NHL debut imaginable.

And yet, there he was in the minuscule visitors' locker room, surrounded by the standard crush of Canadian cameras and microphones ... smiling?

Like, uh, smiling after 7-1?

"Yeah, yeah, I know," DeSmith came back when I ribbed him for that yet again, this following maybe the best, biggest reason of his hockey career to smile, a 34-save, 3-1 throttling of the Hurricanes on this Tuesday night at PPG Paints Arena. And this in a stunning third consecutive start. "I'm just a naturally happy person, I think, which probably explains the Winnipeg thing. But I also ... I don't know, I just really appreciate all this. I appreciated that chance up there, even though the game didn't go great. I appreciate the chance now."

It's the chance of a lifetime in every sense.

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