Ron Hainsey ready for 'different expectations' following trade to Penguins

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NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 29: Ron Hainsey #65 of the Carolina Hurricanes yells at the referee after receiving two minor penalties in the third period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on November 29, 2016 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Hurricanes 2-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 29: Ron Hainsey #65 of the Carolina Hurricanes yells at the referee after receiving two minor penalties in the third period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on November 29, 2016 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Hurricanes 2-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH – Ron Hainsey is entering very new territory this weekend. After spending Thursday preparing to join a new team, he met his new teammates and got ready to play in an outdoor game for the first time in his career on Friday.

“Little different than the normal 11 a.m. twirl around,” Hainsey said after Friday’s skate at Heinz Field. “But it was good to get out there and see the sightlines and everything. Definitely a little bit different, depth perception and all that. Certainly fun to come in and be a part of all this right away.”

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The Penguins acquired Hainsey as a reinforcement after their blue line was decimated with injuries. Olli Maatta and Trevor Daley were both lost until late-March/early-April in the last two weeks and Justin Schultz, who could be back Saturday night, has missed the last three games after suffering a concussion.

The 35-year-old Hainsey, who was paired with Brian Dumoulin on Friday, doesn’t think it’ll take long to start feeling comfortable in the lineup.

“We have so many games coming up in March that once we start playing every other day, that’ll be when [I can] get into a rhythm. Myself, personally, I kind of like playing every other day,” he said. “It will get a little easier and a little more routine once we get into next week. We’ve got two road games, come home, play a game, that’ll be the time when I’ll be able to get into a little better rhythm with all the guys here.”

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Hainsey enters the Penguins organization with a number of ties aside from having already played for GM Jim Rutherford in Carolina. He grew up not far from Nick Bonino in Connecticut; played with Trevor Daley in Hamilton of the AHL during the 2004-05 lockout and with Eric Fehr in Winnipeg; and even had assistant GM Bill Guerin as a camp counselor when he was a youth player.

The biggest bonus for Hainsey with this trade is the fact that after 891 NHL games, he’ll finally be playing playoff hockey.

“It’s definitely a change of situation,” he said. “Was playing some games [with Carolina] where it was life or death for us to stay in the hunt there. I think expectations are little bit different here and I just can’t wait to get started.”

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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