WATCH: Steelers safety's pump-up videos for Penguins are kind of awesome
Ross Ventrone's Instagram account might be the Penguins' secret weapon
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.
Set to Higher and Higher from the cult classic movie Wet Hot American Summer, Ventrone shows off his sick rollerblading skills, striking fear into the hearts of the Sharks and any nearby motorists.
After that video dropped, the Penguins took a 2-0 series lead. And ya know, Ventrone might be on to something here. The Villanova grad made hype videos for his alma mater throughout March Madness, and we all know how that ended up.
However, as the series shifted to San Jose, Ventrone enlisted some friends to help take the inspiration and turn it up to 11. He headed back to the roller rink with his team of Steelers helmet-clad individuals and married the musical stylings of Journey with the greatest play known to hockey, the "Flying V."
Unfortunately, this video didn't have quite the payoff as the other two. The Penguins dropped Game 3, 3-2 in overtime. However, with all of the travel and getting used to the time difference, maybe they didn't get a chance to watch it. That's got to be it, right?
If the Penguins manage to win this series and the Stanley Cup, there better be a @RustyBenson For Conn Smythe campaign.
[H/T Puck Daddy]
Replicating its Game 6 dominance -- everywhere but the scoreboard -- might not be easy for...
Ottawa recovers from a 7-0 loss in Game 5 to quiet Pittsburgh's offense
Series schedules, results and updates from the Eastern and Western conference finals
Out for the remainder of the postseason, Johansen is still part of the Predators' playoff...
Nashville refuses to back down despite taking fewer than 20 shots against fill-in goalie Jonathan...
Anaheim will be without two key forwards and possibly its No. 1 goalie in Nashville on Mon...