Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



With Mike Matheson hurt, the Penguins have used right-handed defenseman Mark Friedman on the left side in the pair with Cody Ceci. Friedman hasn’t been great. 

Today at practice, Chad Ruhwedel skated with Ceci. Ruhwedel is also right-handed. 

It’s worth a try, but doesn’t lessen the need for Matheson to return. 

Everything the Penguins do on defense is based on pairs that are lefty-righty. Lefties Juuso Riikola and P-O Joseph are available. Use one of them in Matheson’s absence. 

When the practice pairs were discussed on Twitter, several said that Ruhwedel never gets enough credit, or proper opportunity. 

Sure, he does. 

Ruhwedel gets to stay in the league. He gets NHL paychecks. Ruhwedel is exactly what the Penguins employ him as: The No. 7 defenseman, primarily to be used on the right side. 

When all the defensemen are healthy, Ruhwedel isn’t needed. He’s played just 16 games this season. But Ruhwedel stays prepared, practices well and is always ready. When he’s called upon to play, he’s solid and dependable. 

Ruhwedel is a spare part. That’s his job. 

Ruhwedel seems OK with that. He keeps signing contracts with the Penguins. 

A player might be a spare part with one team, then sign with another team because he perceives a better opportunity. But he can’t handle it, and his career ultimately suffers. 

Self-awareness is a good quality to have, not least if you’re a borderline talent.

Courtesy fo Getty Images

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