Connect with us




Jeff Roberson / AP

In this Oct. 2, 2019, photo, St. Louis Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo lifts the Stanley Cup during a ceremony honoring the Blues championship victory before the start of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals in St. Louis.

Alex Pietrangelo had to think about more than himself when it came to his free agency decision this offseason.

The star defenseman signed a seven-year contract with the Golden Knights in October worth $8.8 million annually, making him the fifth highest-paid blue liner in the league. He earned the megadeal after finishing in the top five of Norris Trophy voting for the fourth time in his career last season and captaining the St. Louis Blues to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup two years ago.

But Pietrangelo had a family to consider. His wife, Jayne, grew up in St. Louis, and his four children—2-year-old triplets and an infant daughter born in September—were all born there. Pietrangelo had also played for the Blues throughout his entire 10-year professional career. But his biggest concern about leaving was making sure his family would be happy

“There were a lot of things that came into play,” Pietrangelo says. “Anytime you’re somewhere for your whole career, it’s difficult to make that decision, but we both felt comfortable with it. It wasn’t an easy one, because no one really knows what to expect going to free agency, but [it’s] certainly one that we feel comfortable with now. I think both of us are just ready to get out there and start a new chapter of our life.”

We caught up with Pietrangelo to discuss his decision to sign with the Golden Knights, the move to Las Vegas and more.

Have you settled in Las Vegas yet, or are you still in St. Louis?

We’re still in St. Louis. We’re spending Thanksgiving with the family here one more time, and then [we’ll] get ready to head out. We’re trying to keep the kids in school as long as we can. We’d like maybe one more family celebration before my wife moves away for the first time. She’s been here her whole life. Big change for her.

What have you been up to since the season ended? Have you been on the ice at all?

I’ve been skating in St. Louis. There are probably 10 or 12 of us between Blues guys and some of us who work out in a different gym that skate together. It’s nice, because when you’re in a group with a bunch of NHLers, it’s easier to prepare. We’ve been skating for a couple weeks, waiting for somebody to tell us when the season is going to start.

Do you remember the moment you decided you were going to sign with the Golden Knights?

My wife and I came out there. There were discussions when we were out there and on the way back. She felt comfortable. She felt comfortable that it would be a good place for the kids, so then I felt comfortable, too. Hockey-wise, I knew it was a good fit. I’ve played against Coach [Peter] DeBoer’s teams since coming into the league, so I knew the system and felt like I could fit in well. Talking to Kelly McCrimmon and George McPhee and seeing their outlook and their plans for the future, those were questions I wanted to ask, and I liked their answers.

Looking back, how do you view the whole free agency experience?

It was a good experience, but definitely stressful. There are so many things that come into play. Maybe it would be a different situation if I didn’t have kids or a wife. But you want to talk about schools, talk about day care. Is it a nice to place to live? There’s a lot of things to take into account. We weren’t going to make a decision right away. We’re happy we went to Vegas, because I was able to show my wife a different side of the city that maybe a lot of people don’t know, and one that she obviously liked.

It’s fun when people realize it’s not the just the Strip and actually a nice place to live.

I had been around, because I’ve played golf on the road there a couple times. I had gotten to see guys who lived out there, but she hadn’t, so it was good she got to see the city for what it was.

You’ve played at T-Mobile Arena as a visitor. What do you think it’ll be like playing there for the home crowd?

I love going there as a visitor, I love the energy, love the pregame, love everything about it. It’ll be fun to be on the other side, doing that for 41 games a year or however many it’s going to be this year. That’ll be exciting, because I think it is an advantage when you have energy in the building. You can certainly use that.

What’s it going to be like playing the Blues at some point and facing old teammates?

It’s never not emotional. My kids were born here, I have a lot of family here, a lot of close friends here, teammates I’ve played with for a long time. But you go out, get bumped a few times by the guys and realize you’re back to work. All that gets pushed aside. And knowing the way they play, I don’t think they’re going to give me much of a break.

Which former Blues teammate are you most looking forward to putting a hit on, and which one are you least looking forward to playing against?

I’m looking forward to battling with David Perron, because we’re really close friends and we love battling in practice. So I’m happy to do it in a real game, because we have a really good relationship. It’s always your friends you want to beat, so you can chirp after the game. And I’m not looking forward to standing in front of a Colton Parayko slap shot, I’ll tell you that much.

On the other side of things, which Golden Knights player are you happiest that you don’t have to play against anymore?

Reavo [Ryan Reaves]. Every time I play against him, I get into a scuffle with him. We’re friends, we’ve played together, we’ve known each other for a long time. But I guess his job was always to get under my skin, and credit to him, he always did it.

This story appeared in Las Vegas Weekly.

Article written by #LasVegasSun