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Category: Pittsburgh-Penguins

No Need To Trade Evgeni Malkin

from Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

If the Pittsburgh Penguins seriously are considering a trade of Evgeni Malkin, they seriously should reconsider.

It’s that absurd of an idea.

Trading Malkin would be an emotional overreaction to a stunning sweep by the New York Islanders in the Stanley Cup playoffs and a foolhardy attempt at addition by subtraction.

The Penguins might have incentive to move Malkin because of his age (he turns 33 on July 31), his contract (three years remaining at $9.5 million per season) and especially the chance for them to maximize their window to win another Cup championship with Sidney Crosby as the centerpiece.

But they have zero leverage, as Malkin has a full no-trade clause. If the Steelers’ trade of All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown taught us anything, it’s not to expect much in return for an aging superstar who has control of where he wants to play.

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Trade Evgeni Malkin?

from Mark Madden at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

Last week, GM Jim Rutherford would not commit to keeping Evgeni Malkin in a Penguins uniform for the rest of his NHL career.

It’s not a bluff. It’s not fake news. The Penguins are willing to trade Malkin. That’s for two reasons:

• The Penguins are very unhappy with Malkin’s performance this past season and with his attitude.

Malkin averaged more than a point per game but was a team-worst minus-25 , made a team-high 84 turnovers and had a team-most 89 penalty minutes. He too often dangled pointlessly and frequently made mistakes at both blue lines. Malkin scored just 21 goals, his fewest in a nonlockout year besides 2010-11, when a knee injury ended his season after 43 games (and 15 goals).

Malkin was insubordinate to Coach Mike Sullivan on one documented occasion. He shows zero inclination to fix his errors. Malkin wants to play as he likes.

continued

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  Tags: evgeni+malkin

The Tampa Bay Lightning And Pittsburgh Penguins Today

from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,

The Tampa Bay Lightning, led by coach Jon Cooper, have the talent and core players to win the Stanley Cup in the near future, general manager Julien BriseBois said Thursday, two days after they were swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Eastern Conference First Round.

Though the Lightning became the first team in NHL history to finish with the best regular-season record and get swept in the first round in a best-of-7 format, BriseBois spoke of his belief in Cooper and players like forward Nikita Kucherov, center Steven Stamkos, defenseman Victor Hedman and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

"I have great faith that eventually we're going to get the job done and we're going to bring the Cup back to Tampa with this group of players, with these coaches," BriseBois said during Lightning exit interviews. "I'm not going to overreact and blow up all the good things we have here because we had a very bad four-game slump at the most inopportune time of the year.

"Now is not the time to make excuses. It's the time to show some humility. It's the time for us to lick our wounds, roll up our sleeves, get to work and focus on doing what we need to do so next year we're more successful."

continued

from Jonathan Bombulie of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

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The New York Islanders Complete The Sweep Of The Pittsburgh Penguins

from Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post,

As the Islanders head home with soft smirks on their collective faces, they can look in the rearview mirror and see the rest of the NHL left slack-jawed.

That’s just the way they like it, and Islanders completed their sweep of the Penguins with a 3-1 win in Game 4 of their first-round series Tuesday night, wrapping things up with one more tidy performance.

Under the stewardship of first-year head coach Barry Trotz, they played a defensive game that sucked the life out of the Penguins, utterly frustrating a team lined with championship pedigree. The Islanders suffered very few down moments, very few weak spots, and showed nothing but more group resolve.

That’s the story of their season as they keep proving people wrong.

“That’s been a little bit of the storyline here, and we’re used to it,” captain Anders Lee said. “We’re used to it being in our room. It’s not just this year, it’s kind of always been that way. This year, we’ve really taken it on and run with it.”

continued

from Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

Watching the Islanders sweep the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals was like watching the Steelers defense at the end of the Dick LeBeau era.

They kept trying to do the same things they’ve always done, even though those things stopped working long before they were willing to admit.

This edition of the Mike Sullivan Penguins isn’t as fast as the group he coached to Stanley Cup titles in 2016 and 2017. The roster isn’t as deep, either. They don’t have the net-front presence or team energy they once did. And the insatiable hunger to win we noticed two years ago isn’t as evident as it once was.

“They were a little bit hungrier,” center Evgeni Malkin said of the Islanders. “They want more to win. They were blocking shots, forecheck, backcheck. They looked like they want more to win.”

Yup. That’s the way it looked. It also looked like they were more willing to listen to their coach.

continued

Below watch the game highlights.

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Sweeps Tonight?

I have an open post going up later for all 4 games tonight, but let's talk elimination games now.

The Pittsburgh Penguins host the New York Islanders and the Tampa Bay Lightning are in Columbus to face the Blue Jackets.

The Pens and Bolts are down 0-3.  Are they done tonight?

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Islanders Are Scoring, The Penguins Are Not

from Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

Crosby was magnificent in Game 3, despite no points and a minus-3 on the score sheet. The Penguins captain controlled the puck, setting up winger Jake Guentzel with great scoring chances in each period....

“You’ve got to find ways to score goals at this time of year,” said Crosby, a 100-point scorer this season. “It’s not easy, but you’ve got to find a way to do it. … We had some good looks around the net. It’s a tight game. It’s a game of execution, and we haven’t done as good of a job as they have.”

There’s the hidden truth of this series. The Islanders have executed their game plan to perfection. They are doing everything the Penguins aren’t, from playing together to minimizing mistakes to capitalizing on chances.

And the Penguins’ bad habits have been glaring, whether it has been failing to get a goal or to protect the lead for more than a few minutes once they do score. The Penguins have scored two goals in the past two games. The Islanders scored twice in a span of 1:02 in Game 3 alone.

Where the Penguins looked like a team on life support, the Islanders went for the jugular. The Penguins are on the brink of elimination and don’t appear to have any answers.

“Every series is a new story. Every game is a new story. To say, ‘We can do this, absolutely,’ I wouldn’t say that because Sid’s a tremendous player,” Trotz said, adding that he would want to start an NHL franchise with Crosby. “He’s a fantastic player, and what he’s done for hockey and this franchise is undeniable.”

So is this: Not even Sid can save the Penguins in this series.

more

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The New York Islanders Are One Win Away From Sweeping The Pittsburgh Penguins

from the CP at TSN,

The New York Islanders are on the cusp of just their second playoff series win in more than a quarter-century.

Jordan Eberle scored for the third straight game, Robin Lehner stopped 25 shots and the Islanders rolled to a 4-1 victory over the stunned Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday to take a 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal.

Brock Nelson added his second goal of the playoffs and Leo Komarov scored the first post-season goal of his career for the Islanders, who have pushed the star-laden Penguins to the brink of elimination.

Garrett Wilson scored Pittsburgh's lone goal, a first-period deflection past Lehner that gave the Penguins just their second lead of the series.

continued

Game highlights are below.

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It Takes Four Games To Win A Series, Just Ask Barry Trotz

from Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post,

It was a year ago that Barry Trotz was in this exact position, only the other side. So he knows first-hand how quickly things can change.

That is why the Islanders coach was trying to keep his club even-keeled as they headed to Western Pennsylvania for Game 3 of this first-round series with the Penguins on Sunday afternoon, having held serve with two dramatic victories at the Coliseum over the past week.

A 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series is exactly what the Blue Jackets held on Trotz and his Capitals in the first round last year. That just happened to be the beginning of Washington’s run to the Stanley Cup.

“Everyone is well aware of the stuff that happened,” Trotz said Saturday morning before flying out. “It’s just that we look at it as we have to get the next game. The series is far from over. We’re just worrying about trying to get another game. That’s [where] all our focus should have to be.

“Until you get the fourth one, the series is always going.”

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The Pittsburgh Penguins Will Be Fine

from Mark Madden at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

The New York Islanders are better than I figured. (Perhaps I should have taken a closer look at the standings.)

The Islanders won two close games on Long Island because they were able to impose their style. The Penguins didn’t stink. They just couldn’t get going.

The Penguins pay lip service to playing down low, and are excellent at it when they bother. But they prefer attacking off the rush. The Islanders prefer the Penguins don’t. Helped by the getting the last change at home, Islanders coach Barry Trotz got favorable matchups, owned the neutral zone and made the Penguins’ attack wither.

Full credit to Trotz. You work with what you got. Trotz doesn’t have star power. So he counters with tactics, and playing to his team’s strengths.

The Penguins’ flaw has been flinching at inopportune moments.

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The New York Islanders Head To Pittsburgh Up 2-0

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

There were moments when it appeared as if Sidney Crosby would take control. Bewitched, bothered and perhaps even bewildered (probably not) by the swarming coverage he faced at both ends of the ice, No. 87 took command with a grinding down-low shift midway through the second period that appeared to kickstart a Penguins team that had spent more time berating the officials than playing the Islanders.

But moments, that in fact were relatively few and far between, weren’t enough in Friday’s Game 2 at a Coliseum that rocked while the Islanders rolled to a 3-1 victory and a 2-0 lead in this first round that picks up in Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon.

You can make the argument that in winning the opening two, the Islanders have merely held serve. But these 124:34 have reinforced the notion that they are the better team, recent postseason history be damned. And if you want some not-so-recent postseason history, there is this: The Islanders had not led a series 2-0 since their 1983 sweep of the Oilers in the finals that produced the fourth straight Cup.

“We’re not relying on some mystical history from over 30 years ago,” a bemused Cal Clutterbuck said when informed of that factoid. “It’s about what we do now.”

continued

from Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

Continue Reading »

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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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