PITTSBURGH – Penguins winger Bryan Rust admits he’s a little stunned by all the fuss people are making over whether he plays tonight in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Sharks.
After all, it’s not like he’s Sidney Crosby.
“This is a little unexpected,” Rust said, after the morning skate. “No one knew me. I haven’t had this many [people], but it’s a little overwhelming.”
Rust took a shoulder to the head from Patrick Marleau in the third period of Monday’s 3-2 Penguins victory and twice left the game. He is being treated as if he suffered a concussion.
Rust took the full morning skate and said his status remains a game-time decision. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said the same thing, as well.
“I feel good so far and I will just take it through the afternoon and game-time decision,” Rust said. “Everything I have done over the last couple days is to make sure I can be good.
“Obviously, you want to play. Each day is getting a little better. I have to talk to the trainers and doctors [this afternoon].”
Rust said there’s no pressure to play if he can’t.
“I wouldn’t say it's pressure, but it is nice to roll the same lines,” Rust said. “… but there is no pressure on me.”
Rust also skated on his own late Tuesday at the club’s practice rink outside Pittsburgh.
As for Marleau’s hit, which the NHL did not issue punishment, Rust seemed okay by the decision.
“The hit is what it is,” he said. “The league looked at it and did what they thought was right. I didn’t take much time to look at it.”
Rust is a pivotal player for the Penguins on Evgeni Malkin’s line with Chris Kunitz. The rookie right wing has nine points (six goals) in 18 playoff games.
“What we see with Rusty is his skating ability, his tenacity on the puck, his compete level and he has a sneaky shot,” Sullivan said.
“When you think of those attributes, it all adds up to someone who has potential to score. His confidence is probably at an all-time high. He is a guy we viewed all season long as someone who can generate offense.”
There have been some historic “goal” calls throughout the history of the NHL, not all of which occurred at the Stanley Cup Final.
Calls such as Paul Henderson’s game-winner in Game 8 (cq) for Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series against Russia.
Al Michaels’ “Do you believe in Miracles?” at the 1980 Olympics.
The Rangers call of “Matteau! Matteau! Matteau! Stephan Matteau!” double overtime goal against New Jersey in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals.
Or Patrick Kane’s understated overtime winner against the Flyers in the 2010 Cup Final in which no one realized the puck was in the net.
Well, here’s one from a Final that may quickly climb up the YouTube charts:
Nick Bonino’s goal that gave the Penguins a 3-2 victory in Game 1 against the Sharks.
It comes from Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi play-by-play announcer, Harnarayan Singh.
Bonino said today after the morning skate he told his family they should use the “Bonino, Bonino, Bonino” call as their ringtone. That way, they’ll know immediately when he dials them up, it’s him on the phone.
“It’s pretty amusing and it’s funny how that works,” Bonino said of the Punjabi goal call. “At the end of the day, you try to put that aside, but it’s tough with all the guys yelling at me all the time. Just have fun with it and see if it continues.”
Pens defenseman Ben Lovejoy backed that up.
“Any chance we can get, the other 20 guys in this locker room, we love to pick on Bonino,” Lovejoy said
“Any time the opportunity is there. The Punjabi call is just spectacular. Those guys are outstanding. You’d be amazed how many times it gets said in this locker room.”
Even Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan enjoys it.
“Our guys got a kick out of it,” Sullivan said. “It’s entertaining, that’s for sure. I hope we hear a few more of those.”
Growing up in Hartford, Conn., Bonino said he didn’t really have a favorite hockey play-by-play guy but one person now with NBC stood out.
“Just listening to Doc Emrick because he is on all the big games,” Bonino said.