Missing “The Piece” Rob Scuderi
It’s been five years since donning the Black and Vegas Gold, but finally the Piece has returned to where his career began!
The two time Stanley Cup champion was drafted 134th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1998. It wasn’t until 2001 that he would begin his pro career with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh Penguins AHL Affiliate). With hard work and desire Rob found himself making his debut in the NHL during the 2003-04 season playing only 13 games before heading back to the Baby Pens.
Finally in the 2005-06 season he became an NHL regular (partially due to the 2005 Lockout). At this time the fans were still a bit suspicious of his style, but the Penguins organization knew they had a very important piece that could help them make a run to the teams third Championship.
Year after year Scuderi grew with the team slowly becoming an irreplaceable leader andconsistent defender. It wasn’t until the 2009 playoffs when when fans came to really appreciate the man known as “The Piece.” Unfortunately that appreciation would be too little too late.
As the Scuderi and the Penguins raised the Stanley Cup over their heads there was one question that many fans had. “Will Rob Scuderi be back next season?”
Rob’s contract was due to expire and after playing as well as he has leading up to the Cup victory, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that he would be one of the biggest free agents that summer. Roughly 20 days after winning the Stanley Cup, Scuderi signed a four year contract with the L.A. Kings.
As Rob left Pittsburgh, the Penguins attempted to find his replacement in Zbynek Michalek, unfortunately as defensively sound as Michalek had been with the Coyotes, he was no Scuderi. So, while the Penguins continued their search for somone to replace “The Piece”, Rob and the Kings won the Stanley Cupon June 11, 2012, just three years after Scuderi won his first championship with the Pens.
As the shortened 2013 season began it seemed that the biggest question for the Penguins was their defensive stability, and after the monumental collapse in the 2012 Playoffs, could you blame anyone for feeling that way?
As the season went along, it seemed that the Penguins had responded to those questions by wining 15 straight games in the month of March and being one of the most defensively sound teams in the league. But then the playoffs began.
Despite successfully making it through the first two rounds of the post season, the Penguins were lucky to make it out of the first round against the Islanders. Giving up 17 goals in 6 games was not the best display of defense.
When the Penguins were eliminated by the Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals fans were very quick to point to coaching and goaltending, but one of the biggest issues, a problem that has been consistent for nearly four years is what needed addressed. Defense.
On July 5 2013 just four years a three days after Rob Scuderi left the Black and Vegas gold behind, he decided to return by signing a new four year deal with the Penguins.
“One of the reasons I felt comfortable coming back is that the Penguins said that was what they were looking for. I want to make sure I’m a good fit for what they need and that together we can do some good things.” -Rob Scuderi
Finally “The Piece” has returned to the Steel City!
Games – 585
Goals – 4
Assists – 79
So what is your take, at 34 years old is Scuderi still capable of being an asset to the Penguins?
-Is it October yet?-
- Robert Slavinsky