Penguins Fourth Line Hauls the Freight … and More – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Penguins Fourth Line Hauls the Freight … and More

When Penguins general manager Ray Shero inked Arron Asham to a free-agent deal last summer, he wasn’t necessarily expecting big numbers. Indeed, the peppery winger had tallied just 82 goals over 10 NHL seasons. However, Shero was intrigued by Asham’s toughness … not to mention a strong postseason performance with the Flyers the previous spring.

After enduring an injury-plagued season, the 33-year-old winger is once again finding his groove in the playoffs. Emerging as the Pens’ secret weapon, the native of Portage La Prarie, Manitoba, has struck for a team-high three goals through four games. He and fellow muckers Craig Adams and Mike Rupp are a big reason why the Pens are up 3-games-to-1 on the Lightning.

Actually, the lunch-pail line’s exemplary performance isn’t entirely a surprise. The hardworking trio began to click when Asham returned to the lineup on March 21 after missing 21 games with a concussion. The unit heated up during the final five regular season games, tallying four goals (three by Rupp) and eight points.

Each member of the line brings a unique set of talents and intangibles to the mix. While not especially fast, Asham possesses a hard shot, good hockey sense and underrated passing skills. Adams skates well, is a superb penalty killer and defensive player, and takes the body with relish. Rupp’s a rare breed—a heavyweight who contributes on the score sheet (22 goals over the past two seasons) while providing versatility and leadership.

They’ve been a major force in the playoffs thus far. In addition to Asham’s strong showing (3 goals, 1 assist, plus-4), Adams (1 goal, plus-4) and Rupp (1 assist, plus-4) have been valuable performers as well.

“Our line’s been good,” Asham said. “We’ve been dominating out there, and I hope it continues. I just want to win the Cup so bad.”

*Be sure to check out Rick’s book, “Total Penguins,” at TriumphBooks.com. A complete and comprehensive book on the team’s rich and colorful history, it’s filled with season-by-season summaries, player profiles and stats, bios on coaches, general managers and owners, photos from the “Post-Gazette” archives, and much, much more. A must have for any true Penguins fan. 

*Be sure to check out Rick Buker’s books,
available at TriumphBooks.com, Amazon.com, and BarnesandNoble.com

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  1. Tim_621's Gravatar Tim_621
    April 21, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Shero has done an incredible job building depth into this team. It’s to bad he wasn’t selected as a GM of the year candidate.

    I guess the fact the players want to play here is a big factor. Signing Asham and Comrie for $500 thou each was fantastic. If they don’t work out it is no big expense. Asham is proving his worth, I think Shero will make an offer for him next year.

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      April 22, 2011 at 2:47 am | Permalink

      I couldn’t agree more with your sentiments about Shero … he’s done a brilliant job. It’s so hard to keep a club competitive year after year in the salary-cap era (just look at the Blackhawks). What I like best is he’s built a team with so much heart and character. I go back a long ways and I’ve seen more than my share of Penguins teams that just melted into the ice when faced with adversity. So it’s a truly a treat to see a Pens squad battle so hard. I wish we could keep ’em all …

      • April 25, 2011 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        That has definitely been Shero’s greatest talent. He manages each season to put together four lines that can all contribute that make this team so tough to play against. It may not always be scoring, but it’s something…toughness, speed, or some other intangible. Then, when it’s really needed, those 3rd and 4th lines step up and chip in a few goals. You’re absolutely right, Rick, this whole team is full of heart and character and you don’t win without that.

  2. Jean Pronovost's Gravatar Jean Pronovost
    April 21, 2011 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Aaron Asham is the new Ruslan Fedotenko

    • DaveB's Gravatar DaveB
      April 21, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Why do you need to slam Asham like that. He’s kickin’ ass. The Pens should re-sign him!

      • Jean Pronovost's Gravatar Jean Pronovost
        April 21, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        It was actually more of a compliment. I was referring to him as a guy who was kind of invisible during the regular season and then shows up big in the playoffs

        • Tim_621's Gravatar Tim_621
          April 21, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

          I thought you were slamming him also. I guess that goes to show what we think of Feds. Talbo could be thrown in this catagory now also.

          • Jean Pronovost's Gravatar Jean Pronovost
            April 21, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

            If you notice, I think Feds had two assists in his game last night which might be two more assists than he had during the entire regular season. Some guys just kind of wake up when playoff time rolls around


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