This East Coast road trip is a big one, emotionally, for Rob Scuderi. First, it will be his first trip back to Pittsburgh since he won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2009. The Penguins have moved to a new arena, and there’s been quite a bit of roster turnover since Scuderi left in the summer of 2009, but Scuderi, no doubt, will remain well-regarded by the fans there. He was a steady defenseman in parts of five seasons with the Penguins, best remembered for his “save” in the crease in the final seconds of Pittsburgh’s Game 6 victory over Detroit in the Stanley Cup Finals. This will be Scuderi’s second game against his old team. Last season, the Kings beat Pittsburgh at Staples Center, and Scuderi was presented his Stanley Cup ring by Penguins part-owner Ron Burkle, who lives in the Los Angeles area.
SCUDERI: “(Last year’s game) was kind of different, because I had just changed teams at the time. It’s been a while, but it should still be fun to go back to Pittsburgh. … It’s been two years now, so a lot has changed. The team is a lot different now. I still know probably half of the team. I spent five years there, so I’m sure a lot of memories will come back once we get there. … I think Brooks Orpik and Kris Letang are the only two (defensemen) that were on the Stanley Cup team. That’s fine. That’s just the nature of the business. That’s what happens. Like I said, I still have plenty of good friends there, a lot of people I met, so it should be interesting going back.”
Scuderi was asked, in particular, about the different dynamic of the Penguins these days. Dynamic forward Evgeni Malkin is out with a knee injury and Sidney Crosby is also expected to miss the game because of concussion issues.
SCUDERI: “It’s pretty obvious that they lose a certain offensive dynamic without those two guys in the lineup. At the same time, I think they’re one of the best defensive teams in the league right now. They don’t give up a lot of goals. I’m sure they’re going to have to change their approach a little bit, but overall it’s still a very good group.”
The second part of the road trip is even more of a homecoming for Scuderi. He is a native of Syosset, N.Y., on Long Island, and the Kings will play the Islanders and Rangers to end the road trip. Last season, Scuderi’s parents were able to attend a practice in New York and also the games. Terry Murray said he’s not concerned that the trip will be a distraction for Scuderi, who is known as one of the Kings’ most steady and stable players, both on and off the ice.
“I think he wanted to keep going, from Calgary,” Murray joked. “I don’t think he wanted to come back here. He’s the one guy that wanted to keep going. There’s no doubt that he will be excited, going back to where he won the Stanley Cup, with former teammates and a lot of friends and family. He’s a real pro. He will know how to handle that, emotionally, the right way. He’s not going to try to do anything special or extra. He’s just going to play his steady game. That’s what we want and that’s what we need from him.”