The NHL lockout has wiped out training camp and early games in the 2012-13 season, but the Post-Gazette will help you catch up with the Penguins with an occasional Q&A. Today, we chat with Ben Lovejoy. The 28-year-old defenseman and Dartmouth graduate has been a regular participant in lockout practices at Southpointe, except for some days recently when he had to go home to New Hampshire to attend to tree damage to his house that happened during Superstorm Sandy. You might also remember Lovejoy from a couple of star turns on HBO's "24/7: Road to the Winter Classic" a couple of years ago, a series that has gotten a lot of extra play lately on the NHL Network.
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Question: What has the experience of this lockout been like for you?
Answer: It's really just been weird. A lot of us come to Pittsburgh to work. We haven't spent a lot of time here. We don't have free weekends. We don't have nights free. A lot of us have been able to experience the city a little differently. On the ice, it's certainly been different. I think that we've done a good job with our intensity, but it's not the same without the coaches out there. It's not the same as when you have someone picking apart every aspect of your game. If I miss a pass in [regular] practice, it's not funny. If I miss a pass [in a lockout practice], it's laughable. It's definitely different.
Q: What specifically are you doing in the area in that extra free time?
A: Just getting to know Pittsburgh. Just a little bit of everything. When I'm in season, everything about our life revolves around hockey. During this lockout so far, we work from about 9 to 2, and then you're able to not think about it -- other than Tweets you read about not playing.
Q: Is there a rivalry between you and teammate Craig Adams based on you having gone to Dartmouth and him to Harvard, or is there some type of unity because you're both Ivy Leaguers?
A: I think a little bit of both. I think there's mutual respect. I cheer for Ivy League teams whenever they're playing anybody else. It's a special league because the Ivy League does have to put academics first. I have mutual respect for other guys that played in that league because I know that they did go to class. [Laughs] There is a bit of a rivalry. He might try and look down on us, but I think that Dartmouth has a bit of a chip on its shoulder because we're not Harvard. So that is probably more of a rivalry in my eyes than in his.
Q: Do you follow the Dartmouth football team?
A: I do. It's funny because I did not when I was there. But I have since gotten into it. A kid that I worked out with in Pittsburgh, at a gym called ESI in Bridgeville, is the starting quarterback at Dartmouth. I got to know him well. His name is Alex Park [from Upper St. Clair]. Because of that, I began following it.
Q: Going back to the Harvard rivalry, it had to be a little disappointing that Dartmouth lost to Harvard in football homecoming.
A: I wasn't there for homecoming. I went back the week after homecoming because the Dartmouth hockey team was away the homecoming weekend. That is obviously way more important to me than the football team.
Q: What's your favorite meal?
A: I think it's just chocolate. All kinds. Right now I'm into dark chocolate, but I will eat it all. Just straight chocolate. But for a meal, I love a good filet mignon, and I love spaghetti.
For much more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at www.post-gazette.com/plus. Shelly Anderson: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1721 or Twitter @pgshelly. First Published November 11, 2012 5:00 AM