Forward Michael Rupp has provided toughness and versatility for the Penguins which has been expected but he has also added a scoring punch for the Penguins.
Rupp scored his fourth goal of the season Tuesday night surpassing his total from last season and there have been two key factors for his success;
1. Rupp doesn’t have to play the enforcer role in Pittsburgh; With the presence of Eric Godard, Rupp has ability to play his game and not worry about fighting the other teams heavy-weight every game. He didn’t have that luxury in New Jersey.
2. Penguins up-tempo system; Rupp can skate for a big player and is effective on the fore-check. A perfect combination for a role player to succeed in Dan Bylsma’s system.
People also seem to forget that Rupp was a former 3rd round pick. He has some skill.
Rupp has proven to be Ray Shero’s most under-rated signing this past summer.
Malkin to begin practicing by end of the week
Evgeni Malkin has done some light on-ice work during the Penguins road trip but he has yet to practice with his teammates. It’s expected later in the week that he will be cleared to practice before Tuesday night’s game against Boston.
Waiver Wire Rumblings
Chris Bourque was demoted to the 4th line in Tuesday’s win but he is expected to stick around over Chris Conner at least for the short-term or until Max Talbot returns.
It is not a lock that Washington would re-claim Bourque, if he were to be placed on waivers.
People in Washington tell me, management isn’t losing any sleep over the loss of Bourque.
All 29 teams by-passed Bourque when the Penguins claimed him on September 30th.
Management remains torn on Bourque and some fell Ryan Bayda should be on the team in place of him.
Prospect Alex Grant Struggling
*Defenseman Alex Grant, the Penguins 4th round pick in 2007, is struggling to adapt to minor league hockey and has been a healthy scratch lately in Wheeling.
Grant has taken steps back in his development and he has not shown the commitment needed on and off the ice.
Grant signed a three year contract with the Penguins in October of 2008.