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Pens-Bs Postgame: Malkin is MVP; Dupuis’ just rewards



The Trib’s Terrific Trio:


Key stats: 3 assists, plus-3 rating, 5 attempted shots

Rossi: I’ll touch on this more below; but let nobody ever argue again he can’t win the Hart Trophy because there is no way to differentiate between him and C Sidney Crosby.


Key stats: 2 goals, 5 attempted shots

Rossi: ‘Duper’  has been the Penguins best forward for about three weeks.


Key stats: 1 goal, 3 points, 5 attempted shots

Rossi: I don’t hold his three assists in seven games without Malkin against him, especially when every player I spoke with during Crosby’s slump came to his defense – including Malkin, who lauded Crosby’s leadership. From what I can tell, this Penguins team is more his than any during his three years as captain.


“It was a big moment for me. I thank my teammates because they help me and support me on ice.”

Malkin, after his three-point return from missing seven games because of a strained right shoulder

Rossi: The Penguins are 11-2-0 in games with Malkin and Crosby in the lineup.


Malkin topped my Hart Trophy ballot last season. Crosby was second. My argument: They were the two most valuable players on a team that finished fourth in the East. Malkin and Crosby finished first and third respectively in scoring on a team he’s third-leading scorer, LW Chris Kunitz, had 53 points, but only 18 in 20 games with the Penguins. C Jordan Staal was third on the Penguins in scoring among players that spent the entire season with the club. Staal finished with 49 points. According to Elias Sports Bureau, the difference between the Penguins’ second and third leading scorers last season was the second-largest total in NHL history.

The Hart Trophy is awarded to the player judged as most valuable to his team by select voting members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. Many of my colleagues, all of whom I respect greatly, contended that neither Malkin nor Crosby could be “most valuable” because each had the other to rely upon.

I’ve long thought that argument was a poor one, and that Malkin would need an injury that forced him to miss significant time for people outside of Pittsburgh to realize his value to the Penguins.

Check this out: The Penguins went 2-5-0 in games Malkin missed with a strained right shoulder. They scored 11 goals over that span. Crosby recorded only three assists.

In 13 games with Malkin this season, the Penguins have scored 38 goals, and Crosby has posted 10 goals and 17 points.

Malkin’s output the last two years in 36 games missed by Crosby: 22 goals and 54 points.


No Penguins player has been more impressive to me this season that Dupuis, who was challenged by Bylsma after last season and arrived at training camp looking fitter than ever — but more important with a spot-on attitude.

Dupuis told me during camp that he was not happy with himself last season. He didn’t just mean failing to score a goal or record a point in the playoffs. Admittedly, he’d allowed his struggles to mess with his head, and that, he stressed to me, was very unlike him.

He pledged to be better. He’s delivered.

Dupuis has five goals after a two-goal game against Boston, putting him on track for a 20-goal season. That would be a nice rebound from back-to-back 12-goal seasons.

I remember speaking with a media colleague about a month back about Dupuis. During that conversation I challenged this colleague to look up Dupuis’ career stats. He did, and was surprised to learn that Dupuis has averaged 13 goals over seven seasons in which he played at least 50 games.

So, this theory by some Penguins fans that Dupuis isn’t very good — well, that theory isn’t very good. He is a tenacious penalty killer with some offensive punch; a guy that on a great team, which the Penguins are when healthy, is a valued commodity because he can play anywhere in the lineup and is unselfish.

I shortchanged Dupuis in my game story, so allow me to pass along this quote from Mr. 100.

“A game-winner in overtime… I’ll take it. You can tell me what I did out there because I don’t know what happened.”

Here is what happened: ‘Duper’ got his just rewards for being the Penguins’ best forward the past three weeks.

YINZ TELL US: Thoughts and questions are always welcome. Send emails to Emails without writers’ full name and current hometown will not be read.




Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

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