Bryan Rust seemed to be the underdog of Baby Pens that were called up from Wilkes- Barre in the middle of the Pittsburgh Penguins' season. Many fans and reporters doubted his readiness for the NHL stage. He wasn't a big-time play maker, he wasn't a fighter. Many people shrugged him off as just a typical 4th-line grinder (at best).
By season's end, Rust emerged not only as the Penguins' Rookie of the Year but as a Pittsburgh hero. He sank both goals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Championship against the Tampa Bay Lightening to send the Penguins to the Stanley Cup Finals.
In his career in the NHL (and formerly in the AHL), Bryan Rust speaks to the media regularly and has no problem chirping and running off at the mouth to opposing players. However, a fact about Rust that may surprise you is the topic a recent USA Hockey article. The article highlights not only Rust's stellar rookie season, but the fact that he has done so while continuing to battle a speech impediment, one you would not even know he has given his (perceived) ease of talking to reporters.
In the article, Bill Guerin (Penguins' Assistant GM) talks about how Rust's ability to overcome this adversity speaks to his "mental toughness" and his ability to fight through things "are all signs of character. "
The article also touches on bullying in youth hockey and how fortunate Rust felt that he did not have to deal with much of it as a child or a team while playing sports as some children are not as lucky.
Bryan Rust is a Stanley Cup Champion. He ate McDonald fries out of the Cup. He slept with the Cup by his side. Now, he is a shining light on what it means to persevere in the face of adversity and can be a beacon for children, teens and even adults who may be going through the same issue.
What a guy. What a Penguin.
You can read the entire USA Hockey article and see what Rust has to say, in his own words, about overcoming his speech impediment here.