PITTSBURGH -- Rob Scuderi is making his return to the Pittsburgh Penguins after four seasons with the Los Angeles Kings. The Pens hope the veteran defenseman still can live up to his nickname, "The Piece."
Scuderi was known as a calming presence within Pittsburgh's defensive unit throughout its march toward the 2009 Stanley Cup. He served that role again in 2012 with Los Angeles, helping the Kings win their first Cup. Now he is expected to bring that quality back to the Penguins while paired with Kris Letang.
"I think guys look to you and hopefully you can be a good example, but I've always been the same person even before I won the Stanley Cups," Scuderi said. "I know it gives you credibility in the locker room and that's great, but there's a lot of guys that haven't won it that have it inside them and hopefully we're trying to find that."
Forward Pascal Dupuis, Scuderi's teammate for two seasons in Pittsburgh, said he expects Scuderi's intensity and selflessness on the ice to bring an immediate impact on the defensive end.
"He was such a big part of the '09 Cup," Dupuis said. "He went away and won one with L.A. and he's back here. I think he wants to be here as well. On the ice he blocks shots, puts his body on the line to win every night. So he's a big piece of what we're trying to accomplish."
"I think as a player you always want expectation; it's usually a good thing," Scuderi said. "But even if I'm playing at the highest level I can possibly play at, I'm not going to carry this team. We need our best players to be our best players. I have to be a good role player. I have to do what I do well, but I don't feel any added expectation or I'm not going to try to be anything that I'm not."
The 12-year veteran said he chose to rejoin the Penguins for several reasons, among them his family's familiarity with the area, but the most prominent reason was his desire to win at least one more championship.
"The team is in a win-now mode," Scuderi said. "Although I still think I have plenty of good hockey in me, I'm not blind to the fact that I'm 34 and I want a chance to win again, and this team provides you with that opportunity every year for the foreseeable future."