He had watched them on TV, felt a sense of pride for those he had helped develop, but former coach Michel Therrien had not attended a Penguins game in more than a year and half, until Saturday night.
He was at their game against Montreal as a newly hired pro scout for Minnesota.
"Even the year that I got fired, I watched most of their games and was rooting for them to win the Stanley Cup," Therrien said. "And last year, too. There's a lot of players that I want to have success. They're great kids."
Therrien led the Penguins to the 2008 Stanley Cup final, then was fired and replaced by Dan Bylsma in February 2009. The Penguins went on a tear and won the Cup that spring.
As coach of the Penguins' top affiliate in Wilkes-Barre and then with the NHL club, Therrien worked with most of the team's core players.
"The way they came up, some of those guys I coached for five, six, seven years," Therrien said. "Certainly, I'm really proud of those guys."
Therrien, who is from Montreal, had hoped to return to the NHL as a coach but for now will scout teams in a region that includes Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Columbus and Washington for the Wild, whose general manager, Chuck Fletcher, formerly was the Penguins' assistant general manager.
The trip here gave him a chance to see new Consol Energy Center.
"Unreal," Therrien said. "I heard a lot about it, but being here, it's fantastic. It's first class. [Co-owners] Mario [Lemieux] and Ron Burkle, they're first-class people, and it shows in the building."