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Penguins Room: Rust Chirps, Crosby Reacts to Jake Guentzel Visit



Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby talks Jake Guentzel

It’s one game of 82 in the regular season. For the Carolina Hurricanes, it’s a stop in Pittsburgh as they wind down the regular season in preparation for a credible run at the Stanley Cup. For the Pittsburgh Penguins, it’s both a sad march toward the end of their campaign and a reminder of what once was as they face good friend Jake Guentzel.

The Penguins traded Guentzel to the Hurricanes before the NHL trade deadline because the Penguins’ playoff hopes had soured like month-old milk, and the Hurricanes had the mix of prospects and Michael Bunting that president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas desired.

And so, Tuesday night at PPG Paints Arena, the Penguins will face the player who grew up in the organization with Bryan Rust and made a meteoric splash when he hit the lineup in the middle of the 2016-17 season.

Dubas has admitted on multiple occasions the trade wasn’t popular in the Penguins room, even including the coach in that mix of those who might be unhappy about the dirty work of retooling the roster. You can see by Crosby and Rust’s reaction just how popular Guentzel was.

Bryan Rust on Jake Guentzel

It both seems like yesterday and a lifetime ago that Guentzel and Rust were the “kids’ in the Penguins locker room, sitting amongst the stars in the Penguins room. Rust earned his sweater full-time in the 2016 Stanley Cup run but didn’t cement his place in the lineup until the next season.

And Rust had chirps and jokes about Guentzel, said in the same breath he used to say he’d keep the playful insults on the ice.

‘Not yet. I think I’m mic’d up tonight, so I’m keeping the (chirps), so hopefully, there are some good ones,” Rust said with a smile.

“On the ice, he can mesh with pretty much anyone. I didn’t know he was such a good passer.”

Sidney Crosby

Remember when Guentzel scored two goals on his first three shots?

Sidney Crosby did, though the fish in the story may have gotten a little bigger as Crosby recalled it as one of the best memories he has of Guentzel.

“Yeah. Two shots, two goals. Definitely, winning (the Stanley Cup) that year, but there’s been more since then,” Crosby said. “There’s been so many great memories on and off the ice. Too many to go into,” Crosby said.

Crosby also weighed in with a big smile and laugh on Rust’s joking observation that Guentzel never passed.


Mike Sullivan

While Sullivan didn’t admit to being able to see many Hurricanes games recently, he had substantial praise for Guentzel as a player who could figure out how to be successful in any situation.