By: Chris Peters
The Pittsburgh Penguins have a 2-1 advantage in the Stanley Cup Final against the San Jose Sharks. It’s that time of year where every little bit of motivation can come in handy.
The Penguins have no shortage of inspiration. For one, they’re playing for the Stanley Cup. That’s pretty big. They’ve had a lot of naysayers over the years because they hadn’t been able to break through in the playoffs in the six seasons sandwiched by this run and their last championship in 2009. They have the passionate fans of Pittsburgh to play for. Their boss is Mario freakin’ Lemieux, so that’s kind of motivating.
But when they need to dig deep, when they’ve exhausted all of their energy, when the chips are stacked against them, where will that last little bit of motivation come from? Maybe the better question is, from whom will it come?
The answer: Pittsburgh Steelers reserve safety Ross Ventrone a.k.a. @RustyBenson on Instagram.
The long-haired, high-energy football player has been putting together pump-up videos for the Penguins. His first video came when the Pens were facing elimination in the Eastern Conference finals. He grabbed his roller hockey gear, heated to an outdoor surface and showed off his skills as Shawn Michaels’ entrance music played as a nod to the Penguins’ HBK Line.
Perhaps spurned on by the motivational imagery of Ventrone’s all-out effort in the face of the struggle that was shooting a hockey ball, the Penguins came back to win the series against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
When it was time for the team to prepare for the Stanley Cup Final, Ventrone was there again to give them the motivation the team needed as they rode into battle against the San Jose Sharks. With Lord Stanley on the line, he grabbed his football helmet, his goalie pads, his Phil Kessel jersey and his trusty roller blades once again and hit the streets of Pittsburgh. No. 35 was ready to inspire the Steel City.