Pittsburgh Penguins RoundUp: Maatta, Dupuis, Rutherford, And More

By Larry Snyder

The Pittsburgh Penguins have back-to-back contests this Saturday and Sunday with the Los Angeles Kings (15-8-1, 31 points) and the Anaheim Ducks (9-12-5, 23 points). The Black and Gold at 14-8-2, 30 points sit in fourth place in the Metropolitan Division of the National Hockey League. Head coach Mike Johnston’s squad is 7-5-1 against the Western Conference of the NHL. The breakdown is 4-2-0 against the Central and 3-3-1 against the Pacific.

Let’s go around the web to see what people are saying about the Pens since their 3-1 victory Tuesday over the San Jose Sharks at the SAP Center.

Jonathan Willis from Bleacher Report believes the most pleasant surprise for the Penguins so far this season has been the play of Marc-Andre Fleury between the pipes. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound netminder performed well last year in both the regular season and the playoffs. The native of Sorel, Quebec has kept his crew in games this season.

Jenn Menendez and Dave Molinari at the Post-Gazette points out that defenseman Olli Maatta made it through a full practice including contact drills Thursday. If everything goes well Friday, the 21-year-old member of the blue line crew could be back on the ice this weekend.

The native of Jyvaskyla, Finland has been out since the match-up with the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, Nov. 17 with an upper-body injury. Minnesota right-wing Nino Niederreiter shoved Maatta from behind, and he fell into an open bench door along the boards. Wild backup goaltender Darcy Kuemper had opened the door for a line change.

Jonathan Bombulie of the Tribune Review is reporting that Pascal Dupuis is ready to play, according to Johnston. The 36-year-old right-wing, who missed most of the 2014-2015 season due to a blood clot, was not feeling well Tuesday and had to leave during the match-up against the Sharks. The Laval, Quebec native skated in practice Thursday with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz.

Over at the Pittsburgh Sporting News, Derrick Graffius takes a look at the numbers when Crosby, Kunitz, and Dupuis are together on the ice. Maybe it is time to get the band back together for the Pens.

Meanwhile, Eric Bowser from Pensburgh on SB Nation wonders if the time has come for Dupuis to walk away from the NHL for the sake of his health.

The Hockey Writers‘ Mike Necciai asks the question: how much is general manager Jim Rutherford to blame for the Penguins start out of the gate this season? Is he still cleaning up after former general manager Ray Shero?

According to Ian Altenbaugh at HockeysFuture.com, there is a lean group of prospects at the junior level for the Penguins. Maybe the front office should consider hanging on to our draft picks, instead of trading them away.

Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News rates the Penguins jersey at No. 14 in his Top 50 Jerseys of All-Time. See if you agree with his list. I would be willing to put Pittsburgh in the Top 10.

Here is one more look at Malkin….