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Rossi: Sutter steps up in conference leaders’ showdown.

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Earlier this week, Brandon Sutter looked shaken to have heard he was part of proposed deal between the Penguins and Vancouver for fellow center Ryan Kesler.

Sutter, in his second season with the Penguins, handled that tough situation well. At least in terms of dealing with the media.

On Friday night in Anaheim, he probably gave those who would consider discarding him something to think about.

Sutter – at least from this view, thousands of miles away – was the most noticeable skater for the Penguins in the third period of their eventual 3-2 shootout win against fellow conference leader Anaheim.

Sometimes, the stats do not tell the story.

Sutter finished without a point or a shot or a hit. He registered a minus-1 rating.

Bringing energy every shift to a team that was fending off a shooting barrage – well, that cannot be measured.

There is a feeling within the Penguins organization that the best of Sutter has not been yet experienced, that with a playoff run under his belt he could become a critical component to the next Cup chase.

Third periods like the one he had at Anaheim on Friday night are probably the reason for that feeling.

 

>> The Penguins are off Saturday, returning to practice in Washington on Sunday night. A home-and-home on consecutive nights with the Capitals begins Monday. After a brief post-trade deadline break, I’m back with the club.

 

>> Sometimes, by the way, the stats do disprove a narrative. The Penguins are 13-6-1 against the mighty Western Conference. They can compete, folks.

 

>> Josh Yohe on what he feels was arguably the grittiest performance by these Penguins: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/pensgalleries/5703300-74/penguins-game-period#axzz2vOY9xB93

 

>> A real nice read here from Yohe on Lee Stempniak: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/5703302-74/stempniak-penguins-game#axzz2vOY9xB93

 

>> Teemu Selanne is a hockey treasure, and he’s keeping an eye on Olli Maatta, as Yohe reports: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/5703316-74/penguins-selanne-sharks#axzz2vOY9xB93

 

>> Thanks, Dear Readers, for the sensational response to the blog during the trade-deadline period. I’m told you forced it to stop working – twice.

 

Be EXCELLENT to each other,

Rossi

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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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