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Rust's ice time and confidence each on the rise - 02-11-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

It's been over a month since Bryan Rust's latest recall from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Given how his ice time has steadily increased during that time, it's might be his last recall for the foreseeable future.

After logging a tidy 8:46 of ice time (and a goal) in a 3-1 road win in Montreal Jan. 9, Rust has played over 15 minutes in each of his past three games. He's even seen a some time on the penalty kill as of late. 

Earlier this week, Rust talked about his play as of late and being a "veteran" with all of 32 games of NHL experience.

---

You logged an even two minutes of short-handed ice time Saturday in Florida. How much is that part of your repertoire? 

"That's something that I've been pretty comfortable with. I was doing it a lot in Wilkes-Barre. I was one of the main guys down there and it's pretty much the same penalty kill up here. So it's nice to not worry about too many things out there. Just kind of use my speed, use my hockey sense. It's just one of those things that I hope I can do as a regular in the NHL one day so it's my shot to prove that I can and develop it down the road."

You had at least one offensive rush up ice while on the penalty kill in that game. Do you have a green light to take chances like that with your speed?

Yeah. I think anyone if you're out there, you've got to pick your spots. Coach obviously isn't going to discourage us from trying to make plays if we have a two-on-one or if we have some potential rush out there.

Is there a future for you as a penalty killer in the NHL?

"That's definitely something that I see can maybe give me a little boost maybe in training camp if it's between me and one other guy and I can slip pass as a [penalty killing] guy, then that's something I'm definitely going to try to build on. But I'm just going to try to take it one step at a time."

You had a pretty creative rush in up ice in the first period of Monday's 6-2 home win against the Ducks where you flipped a tricky backhander on net. How good are you feeling about your game when you try something like that?

"I've got quite a bit of confidence right now. The coaching staff seems to like me. I've been playing pretty well. I've been using my speed and that's kind of something that as I've gained a little bit more trust and a little bit more confidence from them, maybe I can try a few more plays here and there. Not so much in the danger areas but in little one-on-ones and scenarios like that."

What's different on your line with Oskar Sundqvist at center in place of injured center Eric Fehr?

"Very similar players. Smart two-way players. Big bodies. Responsible defensively. Maybe a little bit of a difference is [Fehr] obviously a veteran. He's been here before. So he helps out out a little more in situations. He communicates more about what he wants and what he doesn't want out of me and [right winger Tom Kuhnhackl]. So that's maybe a little bit of a difference. But we're communicating well on the bench. We're working well down low. We've just got to maybe find the net one or two times here."

You're the "veteran" of that line. What is different with three younger players on a line together?

"It's definitely a little bit different because I consider myself the 'veteran' of the line because I've played [32 career] games. They've all played less than 20. Oskar has only played [four] or whatever. I just try to take what I've learn from Fehr and [center Nick] Bonino or whoever I played on lines with, things that they tell me and things that I've been trying to work on, I try to implement with them. Maybe a little pointer here or there that I've been told that I've seen works. That's something that I've kind of learned to do over the years. Communication is the key to good chemistry and line success."

(Photo: Chris O'Meara/Associated Press)

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Empty Netter Assists - Recapping Penguins-Rangers - 02-11-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-The Post-Gazette's recap from last night's game. “We played pretty well. We just didn’t the put the puck in the net. They had their scoring chances, and they did.” - Penguins right winger Bryan Rust.

-The Associated Press' recap. "We had some good chances. They capitalized on theirs and we didn't. That was the difference." - Captain/center Sidney Crosby.

-The New York Daily News' recap. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (above, stopping Penguins left winger Carl Hagelin) had his first shutout since Nov. 23.

-The Bergen (N.J.) Record's recap. “To make a statement like that, to have a 60-minute effort like that, it feels real good.” - Rangers forward J.T. Miller, a native of East Palestine, Ohio.

-Newsday's recap. “You know he’s hot coming in, and I thought we did a really good job in our neutral zone. He likes to come across with speed and when he does, he’s got options. If you can slow him down and we can play defense blue-line in, it makes our job a lot easier.” - Rangers defenseman Marc Staal on defending Crosby.

-Highlights:

-It was a head scratcher head coach Mike Sullivan:

-Cool Photo of the Night: Lundqvist had a moment in the dark:

-Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault was on point:

-Sullivan speaks:

-Crosby speaks:

-Defenseman Brian Dumoulin speaks:

-Left winger Conor Sheary speaks:

-Center Oskar Sundqvist is more than familiar with his new linemates, right wingers Tom Kuhnhackl and Rust.

-Right winger Pascal Dupuis will receive the Dapper Dan Courage Award.

-How did "Party Hard" become the Penguins' goal song?

-“I felt strongly based on my experience with [Hagelin] that he would be a good fit here. When you look at the core players, their competitive advantage is their speed; Crosby, [center Evgeni] Malkin, [right winger Phil] Kessel, [defenseman Kris] Letang, those guys, they all want to play a fast game. I thought Carl, his foot speed, would complement that group.” - Sullivan on Hagelin joining the Penguins through a trade last month.

-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins right winger Carter Rowney has discovered his scoring touch.

-Happy 32nd birthday to former Penguins center Maxime Talbot (right). An eighth-round pick in 2003, Talbot spent parts of six seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 2005-06, Talbot appeared in 48 games and scored eight points. He broke through as a full-time NHLer in 2006-07 by playing in 75 games and netting 24 points. During the 2007 postseason he saw action in five games and recorded one assist. In 2007-08, Talbot played in 63 games and set a career-high with 26 points. During that spring's postseason, he appeared in 17 games and scored nine points while helping the franchise advance to its third Stanley Cup final. He followed that up in 2008-09 by appearing in 75 games and scoring 22 points. During the 2009 playoffs, "Superstar" lived up to his nickname by playing in 24 games and scoring 13 points, including both of the team's goals in a Stanley Cup-clinching 2-1 win in Game 7 of the Cup final in Detroit (below). Injuries limited Talbot to 45 games and seven assists in 2009-10. In that season's playoffs, Talbot played in 13 games and scored six points. In 2010-11, Talbot appeared in all 82 games and scored 21 points. He played in seven postseason games during the spring of 2011 and contributed four points. In the summer of 2011, he joined the Flyers as a free agent. In 388 career regular season games with the Penguins, Talbot scored 108 points, 80th-most in franchise history. In 66 postseason games, he had 33 points. He is currently a member of the Bruins.

-Happy 61st birthday to former Penguins goaltender Paul Harrison. Acquired by the Penguins in the 1981 offseason in a trade for future considerations with the Maple Leafs, Harrison appeared in 13 games that season for the team going 3-7-0 with a 5.49 goals against average. He would be claimed off waivers by the Sabres in February of that season.

-Happy 62nd birthday to former Penguins all-star goaltender Michel Dion (right). A free agent signing in the 1981 offseason, Dion spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins. He paid immediate dividends for the Penguins in 1981-82 by playing in 62 games, going 25-24-12 with a 3.79 goals against average. In addition to that, he became first Penguins goaltender to be selected to an all-star game that season. In the 1983 postseason, Dion saw action in all five of the team's postseason games and went 2-3 with 4.34 goals against average. He followed that up in 1982-83 by playing in 49 games, going 12-30-4 with a 4.26 goals against average. In 1983-84, Dion was limited to 30 games and had a 2-19-4 record with a 5.33 goals against average. His final NHL season was 1984-85. He only played in 10 games, went 3-6-0 and had a goals against average of 4.67. He retired following the season. In 151 regular season games with the Penguins, Dion had a record of 42-79-20 and a 4.28 goals against average. Along with Marc-Andre Fleury, Dion is one of two goaltenders in franchise history to be selected for an all-star game.

-Happy 79th birthday to former Penguins left winger Eddie Shack (right). An all-star with the Maple Leafs, Shack came to the Penguins late in 1971-72 season in a deal which sent right winger Rene Robert to the Sabres, Shack spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. "The Entertainer" finished 1971-72 by playing in 18 games for the Penguins and scoring 14 points. In that spring's postseason, Shack played in four games and recorded one assist. His only full seasons in Pittsburgh was 1972-73. Skating on the eloquently-named Shack-Schock-Schinkel line (with center Ron Schock and right winger Ken Schinkel) he played in 74 games and scored 45 points In the 1973 offseason, Shack was trade to the Maple Leafs in exchange for cash. In 92 regular season games for the Penguins, he scored 59 points.

-Happy 52nd birthday to former Penguins defenseman Ville Siren. Acquired early in the 1984-85 season in a deal which sent center Pat Boutette to the Whalers, Siren spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 1985-86, Siren played in 60 games and scored 12 points. He followed that up in 1986-87 by setting a career high in games (69) and points (22). In 1987-88, Siren saw action in 58 games and scored 21 points. After 12 games and one goal in 1988-89, Siren was traded to the Minnesota North Stars along with center Steve Gotaas in exchange for defenseman Gord Dineen and right winger Scott Bjugstad. In 199 games with the Penguins, Siren scored 56 points. He is currently a scout with the Blue Jackets.

-Happy 43rd birthday to former Penguins defenseman Jamie Pushor. Acquired at the 2002 trade deadline in a deal which sent a draft pick to the Blue Jackets, Pushor spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. He finished 2001-02 by playing in 15 games and recorded two assists. His only full season in Pittsburgh was 2002-03. He saw action in 76 games and scored four points. He left the Penguins in the 2003 offseason when he re-joined the Blue Jackets as a free agent. In 91 games with the Penguins, he scored six points. He is currently a professional scout for the Lightning.

-Happy 68th birthday to former Penguins right winger Lew Morrison (right). Acquired midway through the 1974-75 season in a deal which sent center Ron Lalonde to the Capitals, Morrison spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins. He finished 1974-75 by playing in 52 games for the Penguins and scoring 12 points. In nine postseason games that spring, he failed to record a point. During 1975-76, Morrison matched a career-high with 78 games and scored nine points. He appeared in three postseason games that season and failed to net a point. In 1976-77, he saw action in 76 games and recorded three points. In one postseason game that spring, he did not record a point. Morrison's final NHL season was 1977-78. He was limited to eight games and two points. Midway through the season, he was loaned to Binghamton of the AHL. In 214 regular season games with the Penguins, he scored 26 points. In 13 postseason games, he failed to score a point.

-After the Jump: Another injury for Brandon Sutter.

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Postgame thoughts - Rangers 3, Penguins 0 - 02-11-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Observations from the Penguins' 3-0 loss to the Rangers:

First things first. Head coach Mike Sullivan had no update on defenseman Trevor Daley who did not record a shift after the 13:36 mark of the first period. 

Daley appeared to be injured 10:24 into the game. Racing back to defend an offensive rush by the Rangers, he got tangled with Rangers right winger Jesper Fast and crashed into the Penguins' net, dislodging it. Daley appeared to make contact with the left post near his ribs or shoulder on the right side of his body.

With Daley sidelined, the five remaining defensemen had to double shift throughout the remainder of the game.

As far as the game goes, the Penguins had their chances. They just didn't finish. They hit a few posts and botched the occasional two-on-one rushes. Some of that is bad luck. Some of it is sloppy execution. Regardless of the reason, if they score on even one of those chances, it's a different game.

Give the Rangers credit. They are a disciplined team with a great goaltender in Henrik Lundqvist. They don't give up many goals and they converted their chances when they were available. But this game wasn't nearly as one-sided as the score would indicate.

What happened

-The Rangers took a 1-0 lead 8:34 into the game. Racing up the left wing, former Penguins left winger Tanner Glass fired an off-balance wrister on net. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was hugging the near post and sort of fell to his right while making the save. The puck deflected above the crease where right winger Kevin Hayes was able to drag it past sliding right winger Patric Hornqvist and an out-of-place Fleury for a goal. Glass and defenseman Keith Yandle got assists. FIre Jim Rutherford.

Following a scoreless second period, they made it a 2-0 game 4:21 into the third period. After defenseman Brian Dumoulin pinched in on a puck in the offensive zone, Rangers center Derek Stepan backhanded a loose puck off the Rangers' left half wall up to former Penguins center Dominic Moore who raced up the left wing boards creating a two-on-one with center Chris Kreider against defenseman Derrick Pouliot. As Pouliot took away the pass, Moore ripped a wrister by Fleury's glove hand on the near side.  Stepan had the lone assist.

They secured the win by scoring an unassisted empty net goal with 1:31 left in regulation. After a point shot by center Sidney Crosby was blocked, Fast settled the puck, skated it up ice and air mailed a wrister from the neutral zone into the open cage.

The Penguins

As mentioned above, the Penguins had their chances. But they hit iron twice, including on a mini-breakaway by left winger Conor Sheary 2:28 into the second period which could have made it a 1-1 game.

They had two-on-ones which they failed to finish. With 9:21 left in regulation, the Penguins were down 2-0 and had a power play. Crosby snapped off a cross-ice pass from the right circle to right winger Phil Kessel positioned to the left of the crease. Kessel had a clean look at the net but fanned on the shot a bit and was denied by Lundqvist.

-During their recent hot streak, the Penguins were burying most of those chances. Tonight, they didn't.

-The absence of Daley seemed to tax the remaining defensemen as the game wore on. Dumoulin's pinch which led to Moore's goal was perhaps tied to that. Daley does so many things for the Penguins and there were a lot of minutes which had to be spread around in his absence.

-The Penguins just didn't get many second-chance rebounds. Hornqvist, as fine of a garbage goal scorer as you'll find, just didn't have that part of his game going tonight.

-With the Penguins' first line limited, it would have been nice to have a bigger contribution from the second line. Granted, having Matt Cullen at center instead of Evgeni Malkin is a huge drop off but with Kessel and left winger Carl Hagelin, there's enough talent for that line to create offense.

-Games like this are where the Penguins could really use a greater contribution from Kessel. He's good enough to create offense on his own. Yeah, he had six shots but he needs to finish. That is the primary - perhaps only - reason he is here.

-Right winger Bryan Rust did everything he could to create chances. He went in deep with the puck and tried to be creative. His effort was very evident tonight.

-Special teams were a non-factor. The Penguins were blanked on two power-play chances and generated five shots while the Rangers failed to get a shot on just one power-play chance.

-Beyond his strange play off the initial shot leading to Hayes' goal, Fleury was fine. He was clearly the second best goaltender in this game but he played adequately.

The Rangers

-We can't say he came up with any sort of highlight reel saves, but games like this make you appreciate what Lundqvist is. He's so steady. Despite a fairly heavy workload, he just always seemed to be in the right position and made most of his saves seem routine. He definitely got lucky with a few posts but he earned this win.

-The Rangers' defensive effort was even more impressive when you consider they played without all-everything defenseman Ryan McDonagh. He means so much to this team yet the Rangers found a way to limit a hot Penguins offense, particularly when ti came to second chance scoring opportunities.

-As is usually the case, the Rangers were opportunistic with their scoring. 

-Perhaps Punxsutawney Phil's prediction of an early spring impacted Moore who usually only scores goals in the springtime against the Penguins during the postseason. His goal was very critical tonight.

Quotable

-Dumoulin took the blame for his pinch which led to Moore's crucial goal:

“That was a tough read. I obviously wish I didn't pinch now looking back. I saw Sid backhanding. I thought the puck was going to come off a little bit harder, more at an angle, and it didn't. I was already headed there and I thought if I'm going to go, I've just got to try to go. Obviously, I wish I didn't do it and backed out to fight another day. That's on me.”

-Sullivan talked about Dumoulin's play on that goal:

“That's the decisions defensemen have to make. I think the parameters we try to give them is we don't want to get caught in between. So we're either in or or we're out. It's one or the other. We try not to be in between. There was a little hesitation I thought there in his decision making. With that hesitation, that's when you get caught in between. Brian, he's brought a lot to the table for us. He's a good defensemen. For the most part, he makes really good decisions. I think when you play the amount of minutes that he plays and you're in those circumstances all the time, the odd time that happens. Certainly we don't want it to happen on a continual basis. And it hasn't. My reaction to [Dumoulin] is that we like what he's bringing to the table. His overall game has been strong."

-Defenseman Kris Letang spoke about the Penguins' overall play:

"I think we had control of that game for the most part. We just couldn't buy a goal. It's tough when you play against a team like that. They have a lot of experience. They play well with the lead."

-Letang on the team's chances:

"Other than the fact that we didn't' score goals, would you change something in the game? [Reporter: 'Probably not.']. Exactly. Tell us that we need to score goals. We did score goals lately. But we can't get one [against the Rangers]. It's hard. And they're a team that they retreat when they get the lead and they jam the front of the net so it's hard to score goals. They block shots. Their goalie is an outstanding goalie. But I think for the most part, we had control of that game. We were playing well. We had the puck. We were shooting the puck. We out-chanced them. We out shot them. I think it's just a matter of finishing."

-Letang was asked if the Rangers are similar to the Devils in how they are tough when they have a lead:

"Yeah. It is. Especially against a goaltender like that. He's a really good goaltender. It's tough when you're trailing. But we stuck with it. We had tons of chances. It just didn't go in."

-Sullivan was asked about his team getting scoring chances:

"Some of them were quality, for sure. We had some of those shots where we had people in front and traffic and we had a couple of deflection opportunities. We had a couple of rebound chances inside the dots. For me, those are high quality chances. We had a two-on-one opportunity. Those are high quality chances. Tonight, I just think it was a case where we didn't finish. Give them credit. They defend hard. But I thought for the most part it was a pretty close game."

-Dumoulin talked about hitting a post late in regulation:

“If you're hitting posts, that means you're close. I feel like I've never hit a post in my life and I've hit two the past couple of games. Obviously, I'll take a goal or something to go in. A bounce. But we were shooting the puck and we were creating rebounds. But they did a good job of clearing the net."

-Letang dismissed any suggestion execution was to blame, particularly with regards to hitting posts:

"The posts, you can't call it bad execution. You're not going to score six goals every night. It could have [gone] either way."

- Sullivan was asked if more is needed out of Kessel and if he was demoted to the third line for that reason during Saturday's 3-2 overtime win in Florida:

“Obviously when Phil scores, we're a better team. I don't know if you would call the adjustment we made in Florida a demotion. It was more of an adjustment to try to create a spark for our group. Obviously, we can't rely on just one line or one guy to generate our offense night in and night out. We've got to find ways to get more contributions throughout our lineup. When we've been winning here for this last little while, we found that. Tonight, I thought for the most part, it was a pretty even hockey game. I thought we generated a fair amount of scoring chances. Our power play had some really high quality scoring chances. We don't score. We hit a post. They score on a two-on-one. We get a two-on-one and we don't score. It's a real fine line, right? For me, my initial reaction to the game is we didn't quite execute I think the way we have the last little while here. But for the most part, it was a lot closer game than the score indicated."

-Crosby talked about Daley's absence:

"He's a really good puck mover. A good skater. He can skate us out of trouble in a hurry. So I think he brings that. He played some power play too and been really good there. He brings a lot of different things but I thought considering we had five [defensemen] for a good chunk of the game, I thought they handled it well. It wasn't easy. We'll have to have somebody step in there and make up for that loss."

-Letang on Daley's absence:

"You're playing [five defensemen]. You're kind of getting double shifted. So you have to stay short. So you have to manage when you try to go on the offense, especially when you're already down a guy and you need a goal."

-Sullivan on Daley's absence:

"It's a tough loss because he logs a lot of minutes for us. He plays in a lot of offensive situations. His mobility in helping us get out of our end zone and then it places more of a burden on the five guys that are left. Any time you go down a defenseman that early in the game, it just puts that much more pressure on the five that are remaining as far as managing the minutes and trying to be effective in those circumstances."

-Dumoulin was asked if Daley's absence impacted things:

"A little bit but that's something you've got to fight through. That's just a mindset. They did a good job of cycling the puck down low on extended shifts and I thought as a defensive corps, we did a good job of trying to break out and limit their chances."

-Dumoulin on the Rangers' play:

“Yeah. They're a patient team and they wait to make mistakes and they capitalize on their opportunities. They've got a great goaltender that can steal some games for them. We weren't surprised that it was going to be a low scoring game. We've just got to get a goal and go from there.”

Numbers

-The Penguins led in shots, 34-22.

-Kessel and Letang each led the game with six shots.

-The only Penguins skaters who did not record a shot on net were Daley (who was injured), Pouliot and Crosby (who had a seven-game scoring streak).

-Center Mats Zuccarello led the Rangers with four shots.

-Letang led the game with 27:19 of ice time.

-Defenseman Kevin Klein led the Rangers with 23:04 of ice time.

-The Penguins had a 27-25 lead in faceoffs (52 percent).

-Cullen was 9 for 16 (56 percent).

-Rangers center Derick Brassard was 11 for 16 (69 percent).

-Rangers defenseman Dan Boyle and Dan Girardi each led the game with five blocked shots.

-Left winger Scott Wilson led the Penguins with two blocked shots.

Historically speaking

-This stat is astounding to us. The Rangers' last regular season shutout in Pittsburgh was Feb. 27, 1971. Goaltender Ed Giacomin made 26 saves in a 4-0 win.

-Their last regular season shutout of any kind against the Penguins was by Lundqvist in an 5-0 home win, Nov. 11, 2014. Lundqvist made 33 saves.

-Among active goaltenders, Lundqvist is tied for the most career shutouts against the Penguins with four. He shares the mark with Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo.

-The Penguins' last regulation loss at home was a 2-1 defeat by the Hurricanes Dec. 19, 2015.

-Crosby had point-scoring (10 games) and goal-scoring streaks (seven games) snapped. He also had a nine-game home goal-scoring streak snapped.

Visuals

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

-Highlights:

(Photo: Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)

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Jersey hunt - Rangers at Penguins - 02-10-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

The best jerseys at tonight's Penguins-Rangers game:

-It could be a good night for Kevin Porter. No. 11 is popular. Darius Kasparaitis:

-And Jordan Staal:

-Richard Park:

-Nick Bonino:

-It's a good night for No. 25. Randy Carlyle:

-And Kevin Stevens:

-Jarkko Ruutu:

-Brooks Orpik Team USA:

-Larry Murphy:

-There are several Rangers fans in attendance. Mats Zuccarello:

-Rick Nash:

-Henrik Lundqvist:

-Brian Leetch:

-Mark Messier:

-One of these men is a fan of the prince of darkness. The other has a Miroslav Satan jersey:

-Current Penguins/former Rangers forward Pascal Dupuis:

-Ron Francis, who rescued the Penguins in the 1992 Patrick Division final series against the Rangers, has a fan on hand:

-Jersey of the Night: Former Penguins/Rangers defenseman Ulf Samuelsson:

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Pregame thoughts - Rangers at Penguins - 02-10-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

In the Penguins' exciting 3-2 comeback overtime win against the Panthers Saturday, center Sidney Crosby and defenseman Kris Letang got the bulk of the attention, and justly so. They were primarily responsible for dragging the team to that win as they each had a hand in all three of their goals.

Defenseman Trevor Daley shouldn't be overlooked however. He made passes which set up each of the Penguins' final two goals in that contest. On the game-tying goal by Crosby, Daley made a calm, composed point-to-point pass to Letang. The puck was positioned perfectly and allowed Letang to fire a slapper which Crosby deflected into the net.

In overtime, the Penguin were on a four-on-three power play. After right winger Phil Kessel fumbled a puck at the right point and sent a pass to Daley on the right half wall which put Daley under pressure from Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, Daley was able to fend off Kulikov by using his backside to shield the puck. He spun off the check and fed a calm pass to Crosby low to the right of the cage. From there, Crosby dealt a crossing pass to Letang for the game-winning goal:

"He's a veteran player," Letang said after today's morning skate. "He's been playing in this league for a long time. His assets are his speed, skill, his instincts offensively. They're all plays he's capable of making and he did in that Florida game."

In our opinion, Daley gives the Penguins what they were missing entering the season; Paul Martin's replacement.

Daley and Martin are two different players. But they each offer a composure which helps settle things down for a blue line with three very young players in Brian Dumoulin, Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta. Much like Martin, he always seems to make the correct decision.

(Daley's turnover which led to a goal by Ducks left winger Patrick Maroon Monday night notwithstanding.)

Another trait he shares with Letang is the ability to step in for Letang. When Letang was absent in December and January due to various injuries, Daley more often than not took over for him on the top defensive pairing and the power play.

As of late, Daley has been paired primarily with Dumoulin.

"He's just a really relaxed guy," said Dumoulin. "It's awesome having him as a [defensive] partner where if I make a mistake, he's not going to get on me. I'm the same way, if he does something, I'm not going to get on him. We're going to forget them and try to learn from it. I think that has to do with his composure also. Whenever he's in a situation, he doesn't panic. He just makes the simple play, makes the right play and it's the right play most of the time."

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They don't do it a lot but Daley and Letang do play on the ice together on occasions such as the Florida game. Daley talked about being on the ice with Letang.

What's unique about playing with Letang?

“Kris, I think he's one of the best at the position in the game today. Obviously offensively, he's probably up there among the top guys. When you get a chance to get out there with him, you just want to take advantage of the situation. I'm a bit of an offensively guy too. I respect stuff that he does out there. For the most part, just give him the puck and get out of his way I guess.”

You take offensive chances occasionally. Do you have to be a bit more conservative when you're on the ice with Letang give his ability to do the same?

"A little bit but a lot of guys play that way nowadays too. You've always got to be conscious of your partner and the things he likes to do. I think as we go along, the more we get to play with each other, the better we'll get at it. It's just like with any other partner. We'll find some consistency. The longer it goes on, I think the better we can get with each other."

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A few years ago, former Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen said Letang has similarities for fomer all-star defenseman Sergei Zubov who you and Niskanen each played with in Dallas. Do you see that comparison?

"The patience, yeah. Sergei did it in a way where he slowed it right down. Kris is a lot faster than [Zubov]. I think he's okay with me saying that. The way [Zubov] did it was pretty special how he slowed the game down at his own pace. Kris does it at a high pace which is also pretty special too. They both did the same thing, they just did it at two different speeds."

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On a side note, Daley confirmed another story by Niskanen:

(Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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