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Penguins Add Versatile Rupp to the Mix

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Official Press Release | The 2009 Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins continue to build a strong core of role players, a valuable commodity on any team, with the announced signing of forward Mike Rupp to a two-year contract. 

Rupp brings to Pittsburgh a wealth of experience, versatility and a Stanley Cup ring from the New Jersey Devils' championship run in 2003. 

“We are excited to have Mike as a part of our hockey club for the next two seasons,” general manager Ray Shero said.  “He brings a physical presence along with leadership and experience as a Stanley Cup Champion.”

"This organization is pointed in the right direction," Rupp said. "In my mind, this team is going to be right there every year competing for a championship."

Rupp is a big, physical player and strong skater. He's an imposing figure at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, and Rupp uses his size to his advantage. 

"I'm a bigger player that can skate and keep up with smaller, speedier guys," Rupp said. "I finish my checks and play a physical game. My main role is to provide energy and play physical, but at the same time I can play many roles."

Rupp, who has played with Columbus and Phoenix as well as two stints in New Jersey, has filled many roles during his seven-year NHL career. He broke into the league in 2003 with New Jersey as a top-six forward. Rupp, who can play wing or center, has also played on the power play and killed penalties in his career. 

"I"m a versatile guy," he said. "For years I was on the second power-play unit, screening goaltenders. In Columbus and Phoenix I killed penalties. Over the last three, four years I've been more working as a third- or fourth-line guy. But when I broke into the league with the Devils I was playing on the top two lines. So i have flexibility."

Rupp, a Stanley Cup champion himself, will join a team that is less than a month removed from hoisting the Cup themselves. He will try to provide the youthful Penguins with veteran leadership during their title defense. 

"I know from when we won the Cup in '03 I was a rookie," Rupp said. "Watching guys like Ken Daneyko and Scott Stevens handles themselves, they had a few Cups and I was able to play with ease just watching those guys.

"The situation in Pittsburgh with a guy like Bill Guerin was brought in and you look to those guys as a compass. The cool thing is that the entire team has that experience. All those guys won a Cup and I'll just like to add to that."

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