Archive

ShareThis Page
Rossi: Unsung Dumoulin begins to emerge for Penguins | TribLIVE.com
Penguins/NHL

Rossi: Unsung Dumoulin begins to emerge for Penguins

Jonathan Bombulie
| Thursday, May 19, 2016 12:24 a.m

Tampa, Fla. — No points. One shot. And he was on the ice for a couple of goals that went against the Penguins.

With a final line like that, what else is there to say about Brian Dumoulin’s night Wednesday?

Only that it was impressive.

Obviously, a few of Dumoulin’s teammates made bigger waves against Tampa Bay. Evgeni Malkin quenched his thirst for a point. Sidney Crosby, again on bended knee, marked. The “HBK Line” kept the band tuned by combining for five points.

Heck, even Jim Rutherford was (deservingly) named a finalist for general manager of the year.

But it would be wrong to ignore Dumoulin’s contribution in what was arguably the best performance by the Penguins in Rutherford’s two years. After all, Dumoulin represents what often is overlooked among the many things Rutherford has done well in his second season.

In the Penguins’ 4-2 win Wednesday night, Dumoulin simply did what was asked of him.

A lot of players — many, like Dumoulin, with limited NHL experience before this season — have done similarly for the Penguins during the Stanley Cup playoffs. It’s a big reason the Penguins are a couple of wins from playing for the Cup.

It’s the reason Rutherford’s tenure has been transformed from terrible to terrific in the equivalent of a blink of an eye for a hockey lifer in his late 60s.

“I think he’s done a terrific job as far as retooling the roster and giving the coaching staff the means to play the way we want to play,” coach Mike Sullivan said.

Sullivan is by far the best of Rutherford’s many magnificent additions since last offseason. Though the respective trades that brought in those Heart Break Kids (wingers Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel, center Nick Bonino) are Nos. 2, 3 and 4 on a list of Good Old JR’s best calls.

If I had to vote today, my three-slot ballot for Penguins playoffs MVP would include Kessel and Bonino.

No need to get ahead of myself, however.

The Penguins are up only 2-1 in a best-of-seven Eastern Conference final. And the well-coached Lightning will prove no pushover however long this series lasts.

It’s hard to envision the Lightning winning the series. Doing so would require beating the Penguins in consecutive games. That hasn’t happened in what seems like forever.

It seemed like forever ago Dumoulin was honing his skills as a defenseman in the AHL.

Three years is a long time to spend there. That is especially true for a top prospect, but Dumoulin had never really been the hottest of all those supposedly sensational defensive prospects the Penguins were hoarding in the minors.

Nothing about his game is hot, which reads like a knock against Dumoulin. It’s not.

As his defense partner Wednesday night said repeatedly, Dumoulin “is a good defenseman.”

You want to argue with Kris Letang? (He’s No. 1 on that Penguins playoff MVP ballot.)

Some more from Letang, who with Dumoulin took the majority of shifts that originated in the Penguins’ defensive zone during Game 3:

“We believe in ‘Dumo,’ ” Letang said. “Early on in (the regular season), he was a shutdown guy, playing a lot of big minutes for us. And now you can just see the player he’s going to become. He’s a big guy who skates really well and plays really good defensively.

“So I’m not surprised.”

What didn’t surprise Letang was Dumoulin handling exactly 24 minutes against the Lightning. In those, he attempted four shots, blocked two attempts by the Lightning and even delivered a hit.

He was hardly overwhelming. He wasn’t all that noticeable. Then again, neither was Paul Martin at his best. And Martin was the best partner for Letang.

If Dumoulin can grow into that role, the Penguins will be better positioned to absorb what appears to be a stalling, if not a backward step, by Olli Maatta.

Back to Rutherford, who needed to — and did — figure out how to work with staffers he inherited from former GM Ray Shero. One of those, assistant GM Bill Guerin, had been a most vocal proponent last season of giving guys like Dumoulin a real shot.

A good GM learns from his mistakes. This season, Rutherford became a great one again by listening to the likes of Guerin.

As a beaming Guerin said after Game 3, Dumoulin “is a player.”

“He has been at every level: college, ‘the A’ and now here,” Guerin said. “All he ever needs is to get comfortable in his surroundings.”

He looked comfortable as a top-pairing defenseman for what was the top postseason performance by the top team left in the playoffs.

What else could you want from Brian Dumoulin on Wednesday night?

Rob Rossi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rrossi@tribweb.com or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review NHL/Penguins reporter. You can contact Jonathan via Twitter .


ptrpenslightning15051916
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Brian Dumoulin checks the Lightning's Jonathan Marchessault during the third period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
ptrpenslightning08051916
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Kris Letang checks the Lightning's Ryan Callahan in the second period during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
ptrpenslightning09051916
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Carl Hagelin celebrates with Phil Kessel after Kessel's third-period goal against the Lightning during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
532241044
Getty Images
The Penguins' Carl Hagelin scores a goal during the second period against Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
ptrpenslightning20051916
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Sidney Crosby takes out the Lightning's Ondrej Palat during the third period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
ptrpenslightning15051916
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Brian Dumoulin checks the Lightning's Jonathan Marchessault during the third period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
ptrpenslightning11051916
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Sidney Crosby blisters a power-play shot past Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
ptrpenslightning19051916
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Lightning's Braydon Coburn is called for interference on the Penguins' Carl Hagelin during the third period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
ptrpenslightning16051916
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Nick Bonino clears the puck from the Lightning's Ondrej Palat during the third period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
ptrpenslightning17051916
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Penguins goaltender Matt Murray makes a third-period save on the Lightning's J.T. Brown during Game 3. The Penguins have kept the Lightning from peppering Murray with shots by controlling the neutral zone.
ptrpenslightning18051916
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin celebrate with Chris Kunitz after Kunitz's third-period goal against the Lightning during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
ptrpenslightning14051916
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Penguins players celebrate Sidney Crosby's goal during the third period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
ptrpenslightning10051916
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Trevor Daley and Carl Hagelin celebrate with Phil Kessel after Kessel's goal in the third period against the Lightning during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
ptrpenslightning12051916
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Sidney Crosby blisters a power-play shot past Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
ptrpenslightning13051916
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Sidney Crosby celebrates his third-period goal against the Lightning during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
ptrpenslightning06051916
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Chris Kunitz and Sidney Crosby celebrate Carl Hagelin's goal in the second period against the Lightning during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
ptrpenslightning05051916
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Carl Hagelin celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Lightning in the second period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. 'It seems like he never gets tired,' Kris Letang said.
ptrpenslightning04051916
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Penguins players celebrate Carl Hagelin's goal in the second period against the Lightning during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
ptrpenslightning07051916
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Penguins goaltender Matt Murray makes a save during the second period against the Lightning's Alex Kilorn during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
ptrpenslightning01051916
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Nick Bonino takes a first-period shot past the Lightning's Jason Garrison during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
ptrpenslightning03051916
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Carl Hagelin centers the puck past the Lightning's Alex Kilorn during the first period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
ptrpenslightning02051916
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin is defended by the Lightning's Victor Hedman during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
Categories: Penguins
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.