Pittsburgh Penguins: Mike Rupp Goal Scorer?
So with the all of the Thanksgiving festivities behind me, it is time to get back on the wire here at penaltykill. The Pittsburgh Penguins currently stand at 4th place in the Eastern Conference with 53 points. They have played 39 games and have a 26-12-1 record. With the exception of Mark Eaton and Jordan Staal’s nose the entire team is healthy. The power play continues to be the struggling point for the Penguins, but considering their record, they are still finding ways to win.
The surprise player this year as been forward Mike Rupp. The Penguins signed Rupp to a two-year, $1.65 million dollar contract this past off season basically for grit and having a reliable body on the 4th line. Prior to this season, Mike Rupp had a total of 6 goals in an entire season in the NHL. Not quite half way through the NHL season, Mike Rupp has nine goals with the Pens. Recently, Coach Dan Bylsma has been using Rupp on a lot of different lines. He has even seen him self on the same line with the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Just last night he put in a late goal on that line to tie the game up late in the 3rd against Toronto (a game they ended up losing with a even later goal scored by Toronto).
So far, Rupp is making GM Ray Shero look like a genious. Rupp has been an extremely reliable player and is continuing to impress with his physical play and goal scoring touch. At 6′5, 230 pounds he provides size and six years of play provides him valuable experience. I am anxious to see if his play keeps up as there definitely does not appear to be any drop off yet.
This Penguins squad looks to be dismantled by the Olympics. This, of course, makes me worry more about injuries and staying healthy through out the rest of the season and hopefully extended playoffs. Sergei Gonchar and Evgeni Malkin are locks for the Russian team. Sidney Crosby is a lock and Marc-Andre Fleury and Jordan Staal are possibilities for the Canadian team. Brooks Orpik and Alex Goligoski are possibilities for the USA team.
That’s all I have for now. It’s a little late, but I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Christmas and New Years. This is my last post of 2009!
Let’s Go Pens!