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HOME, SWEET HOME FOR DIPENTA

DEFENSEMAN HAPPY TO BE PLAYING HOCKEY IN NORTH AMERICA

Friday, 09.11.2009 / 4:31 PM / Features
By Erin Pollina  - Sabres.com
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HOME, SWEET HOME FOR DIPENTA
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Joe DiPenta is glad to be back.

After living in Sweden for a year, a return to North America, an NHL organization and some familiar faces was exactly what he hoped for.

“It feels like home,” DiPenta said of signing with the Buffalo Sabres.

 It helps that he is already familiar with some of the team’s staff.

Prior to playing for the Frolunda HC Goteborg in the Swedish Elite League, the defenseman played 171 games with the Anaheim Ducks from 2005 to 2008 - earning a plus-12 rating and 21 points (5+16).

At that time, the Ducks’ American Hockey League affiliate was the Portland Pirates - where head coach Kevin Dineen presided.

“Joe is a guy that by far is one of the most dedicated athletes that I’ve ever met,” Dineen said. “He just carries himself in a way that makes the coaching staff endeared to his work ethic.”

That list includes Ducks’ Head Coach Randy Carlyle - who dubbed the blueliner “Joe Dependable” during the 2007 playoffs - as well as Dineen who was one of the voices in favor of signing him.

“I felt he was an extremely good fit in the organization, not only with what he brings as an individual, but how it seems to rub off on a lot of people,” Dineen said. “Those are the kind of players and people that you want to surround your future with.

“He is one of those guys that will never be the first to admit that he has the highest talent level. And what he doesn’t have there he certainly makes up in heart and character.”

DiPenta will admit, however, that he was tested this past season in Sweden.

As one of the few players in the organization to speak English, he found transitioning to his new team was much more difficult than he expected.

“Little things that we take for granted in this country are a lot harder when you can’t speak the language,” he said. “Even just trying to read signs and trying to figure out where a post office is, you really start to get an appreciation for people that come to our country … I have a lot more compassion for the Europeans that come to play hockey over here now.”

While adapting to the culture proved a challenge, DiPenta added that it did help rejuvenate his passion for the game.

“That last year in Anaheim before I went to Sweden was tough,” he said. “My ice time when down quite a bit. To go over there last year and play every game, have a role on the team, I think was good for me mentally.

“Attitude and passion can take you a long way.”

In DiPenta’s case, it brought him back home.

SCHEDULE

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AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82