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Pens’ Scuderi: ‘I didn’t feel like myself’ last season

Aug 15, 2014, 4:48 PM EDT

By just about any measure, the 2013-14 season was a rough one for Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi. Considering the fact that he’s 35, many likely believe that those struggles are a harbinger of more ugly numbers to come, but the veteran blueliner provided at least some reason for optimism to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Shelly Anderson.

While former Penguins GM Ray Shero nearly described Scuderi as the one who got away considering his often-successful time with the Los Angeles Kings, there was already a debate revving up regarding his value in the summer of 2013. That criticism has only gotten louder after a season that was a disappointment by a wide array of metrics. Pensburgh probably described it in the most amusing way while reviewing his lousy campaign:

Imagine a tire fire, now think of something worse. Multiply that by two, then square it. Now multiply that by three. We’re getting close.

That doesn’t sound very promising.

The question is: what are the chances that Scuderi can actually bounce back? He only speaks vaguely about how he might improve (including being a “little bit selfish,” which seems like an odd goal for a guy who peaked at 16 points in a season), yet the organization’s front office reboot and perhaps a cleaner bill of health might just make a difference.

Scuderi is one of those defensemen who are at their best when you don’t really notice what they’re doing – as in, they’re not making mistakes – so the Penguins are probably hoping that he’s only making subtle adjustments anyway.

  1. lowenni - Aug 15, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    Yeah he certainly looked like he’s lost a step, but that’s the way it is with many veteran defensive defenseman. He didn’t really supplant Orpik as the teams top defensive guy and just because he was “The Piece” before doesn’t mean he is now. He could rebound but at his age I think his career is just on the decline and his foot speed is an issue in a uptempo Pens system. Good luck to him, but he may end up just being a penalty kill specialist, not a top-4 defenseman, even with Orpik gone.

    • namriverrat69 - Aug 16, 2014 at 2:39 AM

      As a KIngs fan I was sorry to see him leave. He was a mainstay on our defense. I hope he bounces back this year. When I was younger and played sports I had a terrible ankle injury and it took forever to completely heal. I had this one angle when I bent my foot where the ankle would just give out. Just ask Bill Buckner – he played for a number of years without his ankle getting enough time to completely heal.

      Good Luck Scuds. For the Pens, not so much.

      • jpelle82 - Aug 16, 2014 at 1:03 PM

        i broke my ankle june of 2013….i’m still not 100% and my for some reason now my achilles tendon tightens up for no reason whenever it feels like it. not an easy one to come back from but it depends on the break too. either way i’m 30 something he’s 30 something, i know it doesnt heal as quick as it would if youre in your teens.

  2. siempre33 - Aug 15, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    I don’t believe it….Scuds will bounce back as a top 4 defeseman…

  3. capsrockva - Aug 15, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    I hope the pens fail miserably this season, as a caps fan. I didn’t like either of the moves the caps made, as my theory is no PENS on the Caps

    • tomahawk1234 - Aug 15, 2014 at 8:03 PM

      Hey capsva, Born in Pittsburgh Lived in N Va. most of my life.
      I can say with complete assurance that the two Pens players you picked up are your team now. You will now have some real defensive players come from the team you hate and immediately be your best players. Embrace them, it’s all you have! Oh I forgot about OV….waaaaaa!
      Your Craps stink… always have and always will. I don’t hope the Craps fail miserably , it’s a given!
      Can’t wait to move back to a real sports city.
      Guess your a Redskins fan too? Waaaaaaaaa again!

  4. rushledger - Aug 15, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    As a pens fan bud I don’t have to hope the capitals fail, as they already are failing. If Scuderi doesn’t bouncer back this year he’ll be looking at a buyout.

    • dontstabmeray - Aug 15, 2014 at 6:30 PM

      you can’t buyout Scuderi. He’s past the age limit.

      • killerpgh - Aug 16, 2014 at 5:59 PM

        What age limit are you talking about? Scuderi’s contract isn’t considered a 35+ contract.

  5. jpelle82 - Aug 15, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    hard hitting reporting from captain obvious er…shelly anderson

  6. elcoffeecannon - Aug 15, 2014 at 9:49 PM

    The Caps…haha! Niskanen played with incredible talent all around him and is overrated. Orpik has lost just as many steps as Scuderi. Let me know how you feel about these two clutch signings in two years caps fans! I’ll take Erhoff over these two anyday, and way less money. Winning!

  7. jpen66 - Aug 15, 2014 at 11:06 PM

    As much as Scuderi was an integral part of the Cup winning team in 09, he looked terrible last season. I don’t think that turning 36 he has a chance in hell of becoming better than he was last year. I really felt that they should have dumped his contract elsewhere and kept Orpik. Not at 5.5 million per year. Martin is slow enough on D, they don’t need two slow pokes back there. Letang’s health is a big question mark, so based on this the strength of their D is to fall on a 19 year old in Oli Mataa. Could be a long season on the blue line.

  8. paulerhythm - Aug 15, 2014 at 11:37 PM

    Age is definitely catching up to Scuds. Hopefully, he gets back to health. He’s a smart player and even though his size, strength and foot speed has diminished with age, he has that great hockey sense that makes him play positional hockey to compensate. He’s also a great locker room guy and a great mentor for the young D. When he was with the Kings, he was instrumental in nurturing Drew Doughty’s play, which he benefitted by partnering with Scuds. Pen fans, don’t give up on him too soon.

  9. c9castine - Aug 16, 2014 at 6:05 PM

    youd like to think that a defenseman like rob scuderi can play at the same level until hes at least 38. hes about as safe as they come, not physical, not fast, not aggressive. he is a shot blocking, lane clogging, stick checking dog. He was a top 4 defender for 2 stanley cup teams.

    but he was awful last year and i have really no reason to believe hell be any better this coming year. maybe ill be surprised.

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