ST. PAUL -- Over the years, Rem Pitlick has gotten plenty of advice from his father Lance Pitlick, a former defenseman who spent nearly a decade playing in the NHL.
Maybe the most useful nugget the elder Pitlick shared before his son made his NHL debut with the Nashville Predators? Don’t stay up all night watching “The Shawshank Redemption.”
“He stayed up until like 3 a.m. watching a movie (before his NHL debut),” the younger Pitlick said with a laugh. “I said, ‘I’m not doing that. I’ve got to get some rest.’ ”
As a former Gophers star who made a name for himself not too far west of the Xcel Energy Center, on the U campus in Minneapolis, it seemed fitting that Pitlick got to make his NHL debut on Monday night, March 25, against the Wild.
“It’s super exciting, and I’m really grateful for this opportunity,” Pitlick said. “It’s pretty cool that I’m able to make my debut at home in front of my friends and family. It’s going to be awesome.”
Pitlick signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Predators on Friday afternoon, opting to forego his senior year at the University of Minnesota.
“It’s been crazy,” Pitlick said. “There’s been a lot of stuff going on. I think I said in the past, with everything that’s been going on, it feels much longer than a week and a half (since I was playing for the Gophers). I’ve already learned so much, and it’s been an amazing experience, and I’m just looking forward to taking more in.”
That started at the Xcel Energy Center, a rink in which Pitlick doesn’t necessarily have the fondest memories. He played there as a part of the now-defunct North Star College Cup his freshman year at the U.
“It wasn’t the best memory,” Pitlick said. “We lost the first game.”
Pitlick hoped better memories on Monday night.
“I’ve been waiting for this my whole life,” Pitlick said, adding that he’s trying not to get too caught up in the moment. “I’ve probably played like 1,200 (games) in my entire life, so I’m going to try to treat it like it’s no different. Obviously there’s a lot going on and nerves are going to be there. Just try to treat it like another game.”
Pitlick played for 9:43 and was called for one penalty in the 1-0 Predator win.