Penguins Notebook: Ruutu expects more titles for former team


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OTTAWA -- Jarkko Ruutu says he didn't see much of the Penguins' march to the Stanley Cup in the spring.

Not because of any hard feelings toward his old team.

Rather, it was all about location, location, location.

The Penguins, of course, were playing in places such as Philadelphia, Washington, Raleigh, N.C., and Detroit, and Ruutu, who had signed with Ottawa as a free agent the previous July, was in his native Finland after the Senators failed to qualify for postseason play.

"I saw a few games [on TV]," Ruutu said before the Penguins and Senators played at Scotiabank Place last night. "Not many. I was back home, and I wasn't going to get up at 3 or 4 a.m."

Not, he was quick to add, because he begrudged them their championship. Or even because he figures he will have at least a few more chances to see them celebrate Cup titles in coming years.

"I'm happy for them," Ruutu said. "The decision I made the summer before, I wouldn't change my mind.

"They made a lot of changes -- a lot of good changes, actually, if you really look at it -- and they deserve it. The guys deserve it, coming back from 10th spot in the East [when Dan Bylsma replaced Michel Therrien as coach] and being down in the final 2-zip and 3-2.

"I think Pittsburgh's going to have a lot of years like that to come."

Ruutu signed with the Senators mostly because they were willing to give him a three-year contract, while the Penguins offered two.

"I have a lot of good memories of playing in Pittsburgh," he said. "It's just that once you make a decision, you can't change your mind, and I have no regrets."

Even though he left a team he believes has multiple titles in its future.

"It's no secret they're probably the No. 1 team to beat this year again," Ruutu said. "It's kind of the same scenario Edmonton had in the '80s.

"It's great for the fans in Pittsburgh. After a few tough years, things are working out for them."

Guerin on Chelios

While Penguins right winger Bill Guerin will turn 39 Nov. 9, he's a virtual pup alongside Chris Chelios, his frequent teammate on U.S. national squads.

Chelios is 47, has worked out with the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League and expects to sign with them this week in hopes of convincing an NHL squad to add him to its roster.

"I think it's great," Guerin said. "He loves it. He just loves hockey, and obviously he loves Chicago, too. He's in a place that he loves and doing something that he loves, too. More power to him."

As for whether he would consider playing long enough so that, at some point, he actually stays in the game to a more advanced age than Chelios, Guerin had a firm response:

"No. No. No."

Powder blue

The Penguins will wear their powder-blue uniforms for the first of 12 times this season when Tampa Bay visits Mellon Arena at 7:38 p.m. Saturday.

The other home games for which they will wear them are Nov. 16 (Anaheim), Dec. 3 (Colorado), Dec. 12 (Florida), Dec. 27 (Toronto), Jan. 5 (Atlanta), Jan. 28 (Ottawa), Feb. 1 (Buffalo), Feb. 14 (Nashville) and March 6 (Dallas).

They also will wear them Oct. 30 at Columbus and Nov. 27 on Long Island.

Tribute

Senators forward Nick Foligno, son of former NHLer Mike Foligno, is paying tribute to the memory of his late mother, Janis, in an unusual way: He has had a commemorative patch bearing her initials and a pink ribbon sewn into his hockey pants. Janis Foligno died of breast cancer in the summer.



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