Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Evgeni Malkin finally is ready to listen, so new Penguins coach Mike Johnston better say all the right words. The season could be at stake.
Johnston leaves this weekend for Moscow, where he will spend four days with his most important player.
Win over Malkin, and Johnston would take the biggest step toward turning the Penguins back into Stanley Cup contenders. Leaving Moscow without Malkin's support would prove disastrous.
The Penguins are captain Sidney Crosby's franchise, but they must become Malkin's team.
This is no knock on Crosby, the face of hockey in North America. He just can't do what Malkin can for the Penguins' dressing room dynamic. Crosby's calling is bigger, no matter what management might think. His responsibility is to help the Penguins win and the game grow.
Malkin never has done anything but play, and playtime is over because the Penguins need more from their other future Hall of Fame center.
via the Pittsburgh Penguins,
The Pittsburgh Penguins have named Jacques Martin senior advisor of hockey operations, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
Martin, 61, has over 25 years of NHL experience as a general manager, head coach and assistant coach with Pittsburgh, Montreal, Florida, Ottawa, Colorado/Quebec, Chicago and St. Louis.
His duties will include monitoring NHL games, with an emphasis on Eastern Conference teams, assessing how the Penguins compare to the competition. He will report his information to general manager Jim Rutherford.
Martin, who spent last season as an assistant coach on the Penguins’ staff, has won 613 games and made 12 playoff appearances in 17 seasons as a NHL head coach. He won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s ‘most outstanding coach’ with Ottawa in 1999 and was a finalist for the award on three other occasions.
I've never been one to focus on pressure. Pressure, for me, comes when I don't feel like I'm doing a good job — just like a player. Trust me, I will put more pressure on myself than anyone else ever will. No offense, but I don't really read the papers much. I trust my staff and the people I'm close with. You have to be true to yourself, true to your instincts. Just be who you are. That's what I'll do. I'm very excited about this.
-Mike Johnston, head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins on dealing with pressure. Read more from Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review who did a Q & A with Johnston.
from the Pittsburgh Penguins,
The Pittsburgh Penguins have named Mark Recchi player development coach, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
Recchi, 46, will be responsible for working with and assisting in the development of young prospects and players throughout the Penguins’ organization in the minor leagues as well as in junior and college hockey.
Recchi, a Kamloops, British Columbia native, was the Penguins’ fourth-round draft pick in 1988. He scored 154 goals and 385 points in 389 games over three different stints in Pittsburgh.
from Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Sidney Crosby isn't having arthroscopic surgery on his injured right wrist, after all.
Not yet, anyway.
But if the injections he has decided to receive in lieu of an operation don't have the desired effect, Crosby still could undergo surgery before training camp opens in September.
"If this treatment works, you avoid surgery and move on," Pat Brisson, who is Crosby's agent, said Tuesday. "If it doesn't, he will have to go that [surgical] route."
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, citing a source who requested anonymity, reported last Wednesday that Crosby was going to have surgery on his injured wrist "within the next few days."
Brisson confirmed that, as of July 8, "a couple of doctors [had] recommended the surgery," but said Crosby sought another opinion the next day and received yet another -- this one, from the doctor who suggested the injections -- Monday.
via the Pittsburgh Penguins,
Statement from Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford:
“After seeking additional medical advice, doctors have decided not to perform surgery on Sidney Crosby’s wrist. Sid will continue treatments and be evaluated regularly while he prepares for training camp in September.”
"It makes me really happy to have a coach who focuses on the time of possession of the puck."
-Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins. More from Letang in a translated TVA Sports story...
from Sam Page of Sports Illustrated,
Rutherford’s strategy for fixing this hasn’t so much been to bolster the bottom half as to erase the traditional top six/bottom six divide completely. His first move—trading Neal for Hornqvist and Spaling—typified this mentality. He parted with the team’s best winger for two forwards whose odd skill sets allowed them to play all over Nashville’s lineup.
Hornqvist is a modern Tomas Holmstrom, fearless and gritty in front of the net. But compared to Neal, Hornqvist’s tools are more Fisher Price than Black & Decker. He can’t skate, or score from even a moderate distance, and he will often enter the offensive zone by chasing his own soft, harmless shot, hoping to force a cover-up whistle....
Rutherford also bought low on several free agents, handing out a series of affordable one-year deals—lack of star power, after all, was not the reason why the Penguins hadn’t been back to the Stanley Cup finals since 2009. They now boast five players who have caddied for stars in the past: Hornqvist, Kunitz, Blake Comeau, Steve Downie and Pascal Dupuis. With trade-deadline acquisition Marcel Goc centering the third line, Pittsburgh can follow the skilled-center-plus-crease-crasher model with their top three lines—Crosby with Kunitz; Malkin with Hornqvist; and maybe Goc with Downie. (No one will ever mistake Goc for Malkin, but the underrated German has offensive talent.)
from Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Rutherford had a chance to reflect a bit on all that has transpired since he succeeded Ray Shero as GM May 6, and he clearly is satisfied with what has been accomplished so far.
"I feel very good about what's happened," he said.
He seemed particularly pleased with the hiring of coach Mike Johnston, even though Johnston got the job only after Willie Desjardins (and perhaps Bill Peters) accepted offers elsewhere.
He's happy with the trade that brought forwards Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling from Nashville for James Neal because the Penguins "added two players who can play a little different style."
And Rutherford is flat-out delighted to have gotten top-four defenseman Christian Ehrhoff as a free agent after Buffalo bought out his contract.
"I feel we've improved ourselves at all positions," he said.
He acknowledged the impact of defensemen Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik leaving via free agency, but said: "Our younger defensemen are getting better, and the addition of Ehrhoff makes us stronger."
from Mark Madden of the TimesOnline,
In 2010, Steve Downie played for Tampa Bay. He tried to break Sidney Crosby’s leg. Blatant and intentional. A slew foot on steroids. Watch the video. It’s available on YouTube, along with sundry other malfeasance perpetrated by Downie.
Now, Downie is a Penguin. Crosby’s teammate. Maybe his linemate.
It’s time to forgive and forget. Embrace, even.
Downie is a jerk. But he’s the Penguins' jerk.
It’s not a problem solved quickly, let alone with one signing. But last season’s Penguins packed the punch of a feather duster. So soft, they nearly melted.
continued and watch the incident Madden referred to below...
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.
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