Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Jason Mackey tweets,
Asked GMJR if he was pursuing a trade: "Not really actively pursuing it. There’s not a lot going on right now.
"You can’t even find a lot of guys if you call them now. It’s really when we get into camp, and teams see what they have."
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Let’s start with this: For our money, Sidney Crosby is still one of the top two or three best hockey players, if not the best player on the planet. That is a given. And it will not shock us at all that if Crosby wins another scoring title playing with Phil Kessel.
But if the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team strangely adrift since back-to-back trips to the Stanley Cup finals in 2008 and 2009, are going to get back to relevance -- never mind seriously contending for a championship -- then the key is the blue line. And the blue line begins and ends right now with Kris Letang.
For most of last season, Letang and the now departed Paul Martin were the top pairing on a defense that for most of the season was a top six or seven team in goals allowed per game. A late-season swoon that coincided with injuries to their top defensemen saw the Pens finish 10th in goals allowed per game. All in all, not too shabby. Still, the Penguins were ousted in five games in the first round by the New York Rangers, losing all four games by a 2-1 count.
from Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Troy and Trina Crosby sat side-by-side on the same blue couch they've owned for more than a decade. Cards celebrating their son's recent birthday were displayed on the mantle. Photos of their hockey-playing children framed the room.
Now an empty nester and looking every bit the part in capri lounge pants, bare feet and a pair of glasses pushed above her forehead, Trina Crosby seemed genuinely surprised she has spent about one-fifth of her life as the mother of an NHL superstar.
“I think for some people it will always be ‘Sid the Kid,' ” she said. “But it doesn't really stick as much as it used to.”
Ten years into his career, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is no longer a kid. He's a mature 28, celebrating his birthday on the final day of his first hockey camp for kids held to much acclaim in his hometown, at his home rink.
Crosby also is the proud owner of college credits for a World War II history course he completed online last season. He's a philanthropist and has started thinking about his legacy outside of hockey, something he hopes to shape through charity and his foundation.
No longer Mario Lemieux's tenant, Crosby is a homeowner twice over, including lakefront property in rural Nova Scotia that he showed off recently to a Trib Total Media reporter and photographer.
Yet Crosby, the NHL's top earner who pulled in about $17 million last season in salary, endorsements and memorabilia, remains most comfortable in sandals or sneakers, athletic gear and a cap.
from Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Pascal Dupuis insisted he doesn't think about his health anymore. There are plenty of others, including his wife, to do that.
After missing almost the entire 2014-15 season because of a blood clot in his lung, Dupuis is able to skate and practice again, and he has taken the ice with teammates the past two days at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
“With teammates, being on the ice, being allowed more than myself and the trainer here in Pittsburgh … it's the first time in basically 10 months,” Dupuis said. “Felt great to be out there. Obviously still have to find some stuff with my game. It's August, but there's plenty of time here. Feels good to be out there.”
Hematology expert Dr. Jack Ansell never has treated Dupuis or met him, but he is a professor of medicine at Hofstra-North Shore/LIJ School of Medicine in Hempstead, N.Y., and a spokesman for the National Blood Clot Alliance.
Going on and off blood thinners like Dupuis has professed to do is not ideal, but it's a necessary evil for someone in Dupuis' position, Ansell said.
from Wes Crosby at NHL.com,
Pittsburgh expects to be better in 2015-16, but here are three questions the Penguins must answer for that to happen:
Where does Phil Kessel fit? The Penguins got the player they were looking for when they traded for Kessel. The thought of placing Kessel on the right side of Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin should have Penguins fans excited, but where he'll play is undecided.
Crosby had much success with forward Patric Hornqvist last season. Hornqvist benefited from Crosby's presence while enjoying arguably the best season of his NHL career (25 goals, 51 points in 64 games). In turn, Crosby benefited from Hornqvist's tendency to fight his way to the crease.
The Crosby-Hornqvist duo was the only true offensive threat Pittsburgh had during its short stay in the postseason, and there seems to be little reason to separate them. That is where the problem lies. If Crosby and Hornqvist are paired again, that makes it virtually impossible for Kessel to play with Crosby. Kessel and Hornqvist are pure right wings, meaning that one will play with Crosby, and the other with Malkin.
Crosby and Hornqvist have proven to be a successful pairing, but the idea of Kessel to Crosby's right could be more enticing. Whoever doesn't land with Crosby will find himself next to Malkin, so there's not much reason for him to complain.
from Scott Lewis of Sportsnet,
Here are four players who could enjoy productive seasons in their new environments.
Mike Green, Detroit Red Wings
Mike Green goes from quarterbacking one of the NHL’s deadliest power plays to…well, quarterbacking another one of the league’s deadliest power plays.
Green isn’t about to deliver another 30-goal season like he did with the potent 2008-09 Washington Capitals, but he’s likely to see his overall minutes climb back up over 20 per night under rookie head coach Jeff Blashill with the Detroit Red Wings.
Consider Marek Zidlicky’s performance while playing a leading role on the Red Wings’ man-advantage late last season. Now consider Zidlicky is practically a fossil compared to the younger Green, and whoa boy, we have a fit for the latter.
There’s a lot to like about Green with the Red Wings, including the very reasonable three-year, $18-million contract he signed this off-season.
Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins
For all the things Phil Kessel has done so well in his career that are quantifiable, it’s the potential impact the soft sciences could have as he moves from Toronto to Pittsburgh that have many thinking he could turn in a career year.
read on for more on Kessel plus Lucic and Semin...
via the Pittsburgh Penguins,
The Pittsburgh Penguins have agreed to terms with veteran center Matt Cullen on a one-year contract for $800,000, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
Cullen, 38, is a 17-year NHL veteran who played the past two seasons with the Nashville Predators. He played under Rutherford for the Carolina Hurricanes in 2005-06 and again from 2007-10, helping the Canes win the Stanley Cup in 2006.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound native of Virginia, MN also has skated for Anaheim, Florida, the New York Rangers, Ottawa and Minnesota in an NHL career that began in 1997.
from Jonathan Bombulie of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
The Penguins' five highest-paid players — Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury — will make $38 million next season. That will fill 53.2 percent of the $71.4 million salary cap.
Add in the other 17 or 18 players on the 23-man roster — even after the Penguins shed third-line center Brandon Sutter and his $3.3 million salary in a trade with Vancouver on Tuesday — and the team is bumping its head on the salary ceiling.
The only teams that will allocate more than half of their cap space to their top five players are the Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks, who are fresh off a Stanley Cup with star forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews making eight figures.
On the surface, that might sound like the Penguins and Blackhawks are in an untenable position. A closer look tells a different tale.
First, top-heavy salary structures are common in the NHL. Sixteen of the league's 30 teams allocate between 40 and 48 percent of their cap space to five top players.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
When the Vancouver Canucks were able to augment their centre position through the Brandon Sutter trade this week, they hit upon one of the proven formulas of improving a team in the NHL.
The difficulty in pulling this off more often, of course, is getting yourself into the right position and then finding a team which has the assets you covet, and having stumbled into same the position the Pittsburgh Penguins found themselves in before this trade.
Positioning yourself to take advantage of teams that are over the salary cap and must pare down before the start of the season is something the Canucks have done successfully in the past, and other teams as well have found this a winning formula.
After all, when you are making a trade with a team that has to make a trade, the odds are very much in your favour that success will be forthcoming.
from the Pittsburgh Penguins,
The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired forward Nick Bonino, defenseman Adam Clendening and a 2016 second-round pick from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Brandon Sutter and a 2016 third-round pick, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
The second-round draft pick acquired by Pittsburgh is Anaheim’s 2016 second-round selection.
The third-round choice that Pittsburgh is sending to Vancouver is the compensatory pick awarded from Buffalo for hiring Dan Bylsma as head coach earlier this summer.
Bonino is signed through the 2016-17 season and carries an average annual value of $1.9 million. Clendening is signed through the ’15-16 campaign.
added 11:39am, Vancouver release is below...
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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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