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Category: Pittsburgh-Penguins

Window Is Closing On A Few Teams

from Michael Traikos of tghe National Post,

The last time anyone checked, Sid the (32-year-old) Kid was still looking mighty youthful, having scored 100 points and finishing a personal-best fourth in the Selke Trophy voting this past season.

If that’s a sign of ageing or a window closing, then Crosby should start marketing whatever bottled water he drinks.

But the window is still closing. Maybe not on Crosby, who would surprise no one if he were to win a third Hart Trophy this season. But it certainly is for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are nobody’s pick to win the Stanley Cup — much less make the playoffs after getting swept in the first round last year...

The tide is changing in the NHL. Dynastic teams, such as the Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angles Kings, who account for eight of the past 11 Stanley Cups, are no longer skating around with a bullseye on their backs.

They’re not the teams to beat. Rather, they seem beat-up and old, with bloated salaries and cap issues that are acting as anchors. Crosby and others are optimistic that there is plenty of gas in the tank and they can rebound and win again. But it could be that a re-tool or rebuild is more realistic for long-term success.

“Obviously, not making the playoffs is never fun,” said Chicago’s Patrick Kane. “But we’re pushing ourselves to be better. I think our team’s going to be better. On paper, it’s going to be better. We feel good about the team. Now it’s just about putting it together.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Last Season Ended Too Early For Sidney Crosby

from Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

Sidney Crosby had an unusual summer.

Last week, his hometown of Cole Harbour was impacted by Hurricane Dorian.

The volatile weather was little more than a nuisance for Crosby, who reported little damage to his inland home, but a sign welcoming visitors to the “home of Sidney Crosby” did get blown over.

The most aggravating part of Crosby’s summer was the length. For the first time in his career, Crosby was swept out of the playoffs in the first round.

After being overwhelmed by an underwhelming Islanders team in the first round before the calendar even turned over to May, Crosby and company had a surplus of nearly five months in down time. Considering this team has played well past Memorial Day in recent years, it was a strange feeling.

“We weren’t happy with the way things finished,” Crosby said.

contiued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Morning Line- Evgeni Malkin

“You lose confidence, and you start (to) think too much, I (started) to think too much. And when I start to think too much, I start to get mad at everyone.”

“I think my head starts, like, (getting) crazy. I fight with Sully. I fight with teammates. A little bit upset at everyone.”

-Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins on last season.  Rob Rossi of The Athletic (paid) has more.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: evgeni+malkin

All Jim Rutherford

from Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com,

On what he expects from center Evgeni Malkin, who was frustrated with his 72 points (21 goals, 51 assists), minus-25 rating and 89 penalty minutes last season:

"My expectation is for him to be one of the top players in the League. He got off to a great start last year but his play dropped off a little bit as the season went along. I've talked to him and [Mike] went and met with him in the summer. He looks great. He's anxious to get going, so no concerns. He'll be the Evgeni Malkin we expect. When I saw him, I said hello and asked about the meeting that [Mike] had with him earlier in the summer, about his preparation for what he was doing in the offseason and the expectations. It's my understanding the meeting went very well."

more questions answered...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jim+rutherford

Video- Season Preview For The Pittsburgh Penguins

from Wes Crosby at NHL.com,

The new-look Pittsburgh Penguins are trying to win the Stanley Cup for the third time in five seasons.

To have a chance to do so, they will need to replace forward Phil Kessel and his offensive production. The Penguins traded Kessel, who had 303 points (110 goals, 193 assists) during his four seasons in Pittsburgh, to the Arizona Coyotes for forward Alex Galchenyuk and defenseman prospect Pierre-Olivier Joseph on June 29, two weeks after trading defenseman Olli Maatta to the Chicago Blackhawks for Dominik Kahun, a 24-year-old forward.

Pittsburgh is confident adding Galchenyuk and Kahun to a roster that still has defenseman Kris Letang and centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin could minimize the impact of losing Kessel, who turns 32 on Oct. 3.

"We've changed the makeup of our team," Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said. "Now it's training camp and the time where the coach (Mike Sullivan) will have to work hard to put it all together."

continued

Watch their season preview below.

Continue Reading »

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Jean Beliveau Or Sidney Crosby Plus Hockey Notes

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

Sidney Crosby turned 32 the other day, is about to enter his 15th season, and he has loudly positioned himself as one of the greatest to ever play in the NHL.

The question as time goes on is: How great?

Four players stand alone above everyone else who has ever played before. You can pick the order, but the top four has to include Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Gordie Howe.

And then it gets interesting.

In my mind, Jean Beliveau has always slotted nicely into the No. 5 spot all-time. But that’s the door Crosby is banging on now. And Crosby’s game, so different from that of the elegant Beliveau, matches up historically if not statistically with the legendary Montreal Canadiens captain.

continued plus notes like this...

After being traded by the Leafs and bought out by Carolina, Patrick Marleau figured he would go home and return to the San Jose Sharks. Well, that’s not happening. Sharks don’t want him. Apparently, Arizona does, but Marleau may not want to play there. This off-season isn’t turning out the way he hoped it would … Tampa Bay has signed Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman and Andrei Vasilevskiy for a total cap hit of $35.3 million when all the contracts kick in by 2020-21. The Maple Leafs already have Matthews, Tavares and William Nylander at for $29.5-million without signing Mitch Marner. They’ll be at at least $40 million for the four when the Marner deal is done.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jean+beliveau, sidney+crosby

Team Chemistry Was An Issue For The Pittsburgh Penguins

from Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

“We were a very tight-knit team, and I didn’t see that this year, almost from Day 1,” Rutherford said, referencing the championship teams of 2016 and 2017. “I didn’t see a point where our guys came together as a team.”

Often, a comment like that from a general manager can be viewed as an indictment of the coach — that his bench boss failed to bring the team’s roster together to tug on the same rope.

Instead, Rutherford decided to deflect the blame onto the players for failing to heed his coach’s message, praising his coach for the job he did keeping the locker room together to the degree that he was capable.

For his part, Sullivan acknowledged the assertion that chemistry was a problem last year.

“I do agree with it. It’s something that we’ve talked about,” Sullivan said when Madden broached the chemistry concerns. “We just didn’t quite come together as we hoped we would.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Afternoon Line- Matt Cullen

I may have skated my last shift, but I'm not hanging up my skates just yet. After all, there is a sheet of ice in Minnesota that needs to be flooded every night. That's where you'll find me, sipping my thermos. Maybe, even using the hot water to get the surface nice and smooth so the next day me and my three boys can have our own little intense 2-on-2 tournament with a malt on the line, skating in the open air, on the outdoor rink, under the hanging lights, under the Minnesota stars.

For me to be able to take them to the rink and play with them on the ice, as a dad, that's as good as it gets. I couldn't ask for more. That's what I had as a kid and to be able to share it with my kids is my greatest joy.

It's funny. When I was a kid, I used to hate making those malts. Nowadays, it's not so bad.

-Matt Cullen.  Much more from Cullen at the Pens' website.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: matt+cullen

The Pittsburgh Penguins Have Extended The Contract Of Mike Sullivan

from the Pittsburgh Penguins,

The Pittsburgh Penguins and head coach Mike Sullivan have agreed to a four-year contract extension, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.

The extension will kick in at the conclusion of the 2019-20 campaign, and run through the 2022-23 season.

"Mike has done a great job delivering four, 100-plus point seasons with our team," Rutherford said. "To win back-to-back Stanley Cups in this era speaks volumes of him as a coach. His instincts in managing the inter-workings of our team both on and off the ice has been impressive."

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+sullivan

The Plan In Pittsburgh

from Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

Let’s not put Jim Rutherford on an aircraft carrier with the “Mission Accomplished” sign behind his head just yet.

But it appears the Penguins general manager has taken many of the steps he wanted to take this offseason.

During his season-ending press conference in April, Rutherford said he wanted to make the team hungrier, tougher to play against and one that was easier for Mike Sullivan to coach.

Those were goals Rutherford stated directly. Other goals he didn’t state as directly:

• Get faster

• Trade Phil Kessel

Rutherford is following that plan. Let’s see if he got the right guys to do it.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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