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Category: Pittsburgh-Penguins

Afternoon Line- Steve Simmons On Mike Sullivan/Phil Kessel

Mike Sullivan had a deal with Rick Tocchet when the two were together with the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Tocchet, the assistant coach, dealt with Phil Kessel. That way Sullivan, who didn’t want to talk to him, didn’t have to....

It’s not that he doesn’t care for Kessel. It’s that he truly doesn’t want to deal with him in any significant way. Tocchet was perfect for that role and for Kessel. The Hall of Famer, Mark Recchi, is assuming the role Tocchet had in Pittsburgh. He may be handed the Kessel portfolio. Sullivan needs someone to do what he doesn’t want to do himself.

-Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun where you can read more on Kessel and a few hockey notes too.

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

Jim Rutherford On Trading Phil Kessel

frm Jonathan Bombulie of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford didn't say he'll never trade Phil Kessel, but he painted the high-scoring winger as an important part of his team's roster during a radio interview Thursday morning.

The idea of trading Kessel had been popular talk-show fodder in recent days.

“Phil Kessel's an important part of the Penguins,” Rutherford said in an interview on 93.7 The Fan. “He gets a lot of points. He scores big goals. He sets up big goals. The more impact players that you have, like we have, the better chance you have of winning.

“It may not be on a regular basis, but it may come at a certain time in a series or whatnot, just like it did against Ottawa. Kessel came up with the big goal in that 1-0 game (in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals).

“He's an important part. I don't want to sit here and say that a certain player's not going to get traded at some point in his career. I mean, Phil already did. But that's not something that I foresee happening right now.”

continued

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

Ron Burkle On A Few Topics

from Sean Gentille of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

There’s a lot to unpack in Dave Molinari’s interview with Penguins owner Ron Burkle — so it goes for guys who speak to the media about as often as Radiohead releases albums — and all of it is worth your time.

How much do you know, really, about the money man behind the NHL’s reigning quasi-dynasty, other than “he’s rich?” Not a ton. Read the entire interview. You won’t learn something; you’ll learn a lot of things....

You’ll also learn, odds are, that you share some fan DNA with a billionaire owner. Did you write off the Penguins when Kris Letang had season-ending neck surgery in April? Burkle sure came close.

“I’m a huge fan of Letang, personally and on the ice,” he told Molinari, “and I thought, ‘Well, without Letang, how are we seriously going to get there?’ So [the 2017 Stanley Cup win] had its own reasons to be incredibly fun and rewarding and exciting.”

Burkle also — shocking as it may be — is a huge fan of Marc-Andre Fleury; he called the former Penguins/current Vegas Golden Knights goalie “more of a stand-up person than you could ever imagine anybody being.”

So, it makes logical sense that a guy worth between $1.5 billion and $3 billion would throw away a fraction of that to keep Fleury around. Every NHL owner got a certain amount of money to allow Vegas into the club, and Burkle said he’d forgo the Penguins share of the expansion fee if it meant Fleury stayed on the roster.

“I wish we could have given the $15 million back and kept him forever,” Burkle said.

more

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  Tags: ron+burkle

Trade Phil Kessel?

from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

I believe Phil Kessel will be traded. It might not happen this week or this month or even this offseason. But I believe it will happen sooner rather than later.

Tocchet’s departure could hasten the process.

It was clear in June, by the end of the Penguins’ second consecutive Stanley Cup run, that the organization wasn’t thrilled with Kessel. He scored 23 goals in 82 games during the regular season, not nearly enough for a player with his marvelous shooting skills. He had a huge goal — one of the most significant of the postseason — to beat Ottawa, 1-0, in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final but scored just two more goals in the final 11 playoff games. Even though he had 23 points in the 25 postseason games, it was hard to find anyone in organization to say he was playing well.

My belief is Evgeni Malkin wasn’t thrilled to play on the same line with Kessel. And Sidney Crosby? Sullivan acknowledged Crosby and Kessel have no chemistry together. None.

Kessel has to score goals to help the Penguins. He doesn’t help the team with his forechecking or his defense. He doesn’t play any type of physical game, a big reason he has been able to play in 610 consecutive regular-season games, the 11th-longest streak in NHL history.

more

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  Tags: phil+kessel

On The Road Back For Kevin Stevens

from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

The reaction was jarring, a two-time Stanley Cup champion returning to the city where he was beloved and being greeted with consternation and even contempt. But maybe that’s why the Penguins decided to bring Kevin Stevens back to Pittsburgh and back to their organization in the first place. They knew he had a horrific story about addiction to tell, one that would offend many but maybe, just maybe, help a lot of kids....

The hockey players whom Stevens addressed at the camp are too young to remember that he was the NHL’s best power forward in the early 1990s. Man, he was something special, scoring 40 goals on the Cup-winning team in 1991 and 54 more when they repeated in 1992. He long will be fondly remembered here for guaranteeing a series victory against Boston in the 1991 playoffs after the Penguins lost the first two games....

Google video of Stevens’ collision with the Islanders’ Rich Pilon but be warned it is for mature audiences only. Stevens was knocked unconscious and landed face-first on the Civic Arena ice, leaving players on both teams and a crowd of 16,164 stunned and sickened. When doctors peeled the skin down from Stevens’ forehead, they looked at all the broken bones and compared the damage to someone stepping on a potato chip. They put in metal plates during a 4½-hour surgery, rolled the skin back up and needed more than 100 stitches to secure it.

Stevens scored 41 goals the next season, but many close to him will tell you he was never the same player or same person again. He always liked to drink and showed signs of being an alcoholic early in his career. But that was just the start of his problems. Addiction knows no boundaries. In January 2000 Stevens, who by then had moved on from the Penguins to Boston to the Los Angeles Kings to the New York Rangers, was arrested in a St. Louis suburban hotel for smoking crack cocaine with a prostitute. But the worst still was to come. Stevens was convicted in May on federal drug charges of conspiring to sell the painkiller oxycodone between April 2015 and March 2016.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kevin+stevens

Pittsburgh Penguins Give Justin Schultz A New Three-Year Contract

via a media release,

The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed defenseman Justin Schultz to a three-year contract, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.

The deal runs through the 2019-20 campaign, and it carries an average annual value of $5.5 million.

"Justin plays a very important role for our team," Rutherford said. "It's very good to know that he will be returning to us for the next three years."

Schultz, 26, was a key catalyst in Pittsburgh's second-straight Stanley Cup win, providing a huge boost to an injury-ravaged defensive group by producing a career year. He ended the regular season tied for seventh among all NHL defensemen with a personal-best 51 points (12G-39A) and a plus-27 in 78 games. His plus-minus total was sixth-best among NHL blueliners, while his offensive numbers represented career highs across the board.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: justin+schultz

Goodbye To Pittsburgh

from Marc-Andre Fleury at The Players' Tribune,

Saying that the last few weeks have been bittersweet would be an understatement. As we reached the Stanley Cup finals, I knew very well that my time as a Penguin was nearing its end. I love to play. I love the game, and everything about it. Putting the mask on, diving around, stopping the puck, feeling the intensity of the game, feeling useful. I wish I could have been in net for my last game as a Penguin. But we raised the Cup, again, and it made all the sacrifices worthy. I felt proud — proud of my teammates for battling through injuries, for showing a lot of character, and for winning two years in a row. I am grateful that I had the chance to contribute to our success through the first rounds. And I feel very fortunate that the last time I have skated with a Penguins jersey, it will have been with the Stanley Cup in my hands. Not that it wasn’t an emotional moment.

Fourteen years. Nearly half of my life. I remember my first training camp, in September 2003, like it was yesterday. I was so nervous. There are so many expectations on a first-round pick, and I didn’t want to let anybody down. I just tried to do my best, and wanted to leave a good impression. But when you face Mario Lemieux in training camp, it can be quite intimidating, to say the least.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marc-andre+fleury, vegas+golden+knights

St. Louis Trades Ryan Reaves To Pittsburgh

More coming shortly...

 

 

added 10:02pm,

 

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+reaves

Hockey Hall Of Fame For Jim Rutherford?

from Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

I have no idea who’ll be discussed in the “builders” category when the 18-member Hockey Hall of Fame Selection Committee convenes June 26 in Toronto — these things aren’t publicized — but if Jim Rutherford isn’t at the top of that list, somebody made a mistake. Somebody needs to put him there.

It’s time.

Rutherford, based on precedent and pure accomplishment, belongs with the great builders of his era. Maybe any era. And he belongs now. He turns 69 next season. Craig Patrick was 55 when he was inducted in 2001. Lou Lamoriello was 66 when he was inducted in 2009. Jim Devellano (four Cups in Detroit) was 66. Bill Torrey (Islanders dynasty) was 61.

Rutherford is the only post-1967-expansion general manager to win Cups with different teams. A mere eight GMs in league history have won more championships than his three. Four of them — Jack Adams, Conn Smythe, Frank Selke and Art Ross — have trophies named after them, and they didn’t have to top 29 other teams.

continued

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

It Will Be A Busy Summer For Jim Rutherford

from Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

“If I could keep most of them together this year, I would do that. But the [salary] cap and the economics will dictate some decisions that we’re going to have to make that aren’t necessarily ones we would make if we didn’t have the cap.”

A year ago, free-agent defenseman Ben Lovejoy was the only major offseason departure.

This time, the Penguins have seven unrestricted free agents — forwards Matt Cullen, Chris Kunitz and Nick Bonino and defensemen Trevor Daley, Chad Ruhwedel, Mark Streit and Ron Hainsey — who could move on, whether to retirement or another club.

“I don’t want to close the door on anything at this point, but we do have a flat cap [ceiling] coming and we already know there are some [restricted free agents] who are going to get raises,” Rutherford said.

“Then we have a group of UFAs. I haven’t met with them yet, so I won’t get into that at this point in time. I’m going to meet with them [Thursday].”

Because free agents generally can’t sign with new teams until July 1, although there is a an earlier window this year for them to accept contracts from the new franchise in Las Vegas, the Penguins have a more pressing concern than players whose contracts expire in 2 ½ weeks.

read on

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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