Joe Vitale was talking recently about being a healthy scratch a couple of times this season and the high amount of energy he showed on the ice when he got back in the Penguins lineup.

"Shot out of a cannon," interjected winger Pascal Dupuis, who was eavesdropping.

Vitale, the team's fourth-line center -- most games, anyway -- could be tagged with that self-explanatory title of being an "energy guy," but that might shortchange him.

He just wants to be part of a solid line, one that usually includes Craig Adams and Tanner Glass, and to do that he expects more of himself than just a high-energy expenditure.

"I've felt better and better each game," said Vitale, 27 but just a second-year NHL player. "Last season I was kind of in between. The confidence has grown.

"I think I'd like to establish myself, have my teammates depend on me and be a strong fourth-line center, be defensively responsible, work hard in the gritty areas.

"By the end of the year I hope to be an established fourth-line guy."