Cup Final Q&A with Jarkko Ruutu

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Q: What happened between 2002-03 and 2003-04 with the Vancouver Canucks that you blossomed into an everyday player after never being in more than 50 games in a season?

A: I think that's the first time I really got a chance. That playoff year [2003], we played 14 games. I had been scratched for, like, 40 games that year. After we lost that first [playoff] game, 6-0, to St. Louis at home and I was scratched, they had to put me in. I played the rest of the 13 playoff games, and that was basically it.

Q: Can you describe your winning goal in the second period of the 3-1, clinching game against Ottawa in the first round, both what happened on the ice and how it felt?

A: It felt good. It was so early in the game, you don't know if it's going to be the game-winner. I had a half breakaway. I lost the puck a little bit. I was just trying to protect it and go behind my back. I threw it at the net, and it went in.

Q: Who do you think is the bigger cult figure among Penguins fans, you or Gary Roberts, and who would win in a fight?

A: I don't know. Gary is the president [referring to popular signs promoting Roberts for president], so how can I beat him? He's the leader. He's been around forever. I think he deserves the credit he's getting. I don't know [who would win a fight]. It would be pretty interesting. He's a tough bugger.

Q: You came into the Stanley Cup final with black eyes and stitches, and that's not the first time. Has your face taken more of a beating since you came to Pittsburgh, and does that just make you more lovable?

A: Probably less than before. I had way more in Vancouver. I had red spots all the time. That makes me probably look better.

Q: What do you miss most about Finland during the NHL season?

A: Rye bread. Saunas. Obviously, family. But I choose to be here. It's two different lives. When I go back home in the summer, I live that lifestyle. Here, it's different. I like them both.


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