Bryan Rust makes major claim, reveals the most “ratty” NHL team

We'll never know, but could he have been right?

Michael W.

It was a career-first for longtime Pittsburgh Penguins captain and franchise icon Sidney Crosby, as he missed out on participating in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second year in a row. Last season marked the first occasion since his rookie campaign of 2005-06 that Pittsburgh had failed to qualify. 

Despite a late season push, the Penguins fell just short of clinching the final Wild Card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, a position that ultimately went to the rival Washington Capitals. However, Washington's stay in the postseason was a brief one, as they were broomed aside with relative ease by the New York Rangers, the 2024 Presidents Trophy winners as the NHL's top regular season squad. 

But in the mind of veteran Penguins forward Bryan Rust, they would have pulled the upset to send the Rangers home early. While speaking on popular gamer Ninja's podcast, Rust explained that based on special teams, Pittsburgh would have been able to overcome New York's balanced attack. 

"I think we would have beat the Rangers," Rust said. "Oh yeah. It would depend on a couple of factors, but I think we would have beat them. It's a matchup. You look across the league and there's just teams you do well against, and teams you don't. I feel like the Rangers would have been good for us if we could have figured out our penalty-kill against their power play, our special teams. If we could have figured out our special teams, we would have had a chance. Because our power play was absolute trash all year."

Right now, the Rangers are in a tightly contested battle in the Eastern Conference Final against the Florida Panthers, last year's Eastern Conference champs. And as Rust puts it, the Panthers are his most "hated" team.

"The Panthers are a good team," Rust said. "That's probably my most hated team in the league. They're good. They've got some guys on their team that are a bit ratty, and they've got a lot of them. It makes them the villains of the league."

Whether or not Rust's "ratty" comment was a clever nod to the tradition Panthers fans hold of throwing plastic rats on the ice or perhaps a subtle jab at Matthew Tkachuk, we may never know. 

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