Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Spector at Fox Sports,
Unlike the defending champion Detroit Red Wings, the Penguins lost several key players in the offseason — moves which can have an adverse effect on team chemistry this season….
Recent Cup finalists unable to keep their rosters intact fail to return to the big dance the following year. Even losing several lesser lights can have a potentially adverse effect on team chemistry. With their established young stars the Penguins should remain a dominant club this season but it remains to be seen if their new players can mesh well with the rest of the roster and help them return to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Three keys in my opinion are Crosby, Malkin and Fleury. How they go, so do the Penguins of 2008-09.
from Mike Toth of Sportsnet,
With all the garbage I’ve been eating this summer, I shouldn’t be trusting my gut. But something tells me the Pittsburgh Penguins are headed for a huge fall. The darlings of the NHL last year when they gave Detroit all it could handle in the Cup final, the Pens go into the new season missing some key pieces to the puzzle. Marian Hossa and Ryan Malone are gone and key defenceman Ryan Whitney will miss the first three to five months with a knee problem. To make up for their missing offence, the Penguins are counting on getting some big minutes and big goals out of the mercurial Miroslav Satan, who lit the lamp just 15 times for the Islanders last season.
more NHL bits…
from Dan Stefano of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Whitney’s troubles aside, Therrien was pleased with the results of a busy offseason for the Penguins, which saw fan favorites Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts leave for Tampa Bay, veteran forwards Matt Cooke and Miroslav Satan come to Pittsburgh and young stars Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fluery sign long-term deals.
“We really concentrate on our young players as the core group of this team, and the future looks really bright,” Therrien said….
“Compared to years in the past, when we have seven or eight exhibition games, which gives you a chance to have more young players to participate in those exhibition games, that’s going to be a bit tougher this year,” Therrien said. “We only have four exhibition games, so I’m going to concentrate a lot on players that are really close to making it to the NHL.”
from Empty Netters,
How much will the Penguins miss Ryan Whitney as he recuperates from his foot injury? You be the judge. Take a look at the top point totals by defenseman the past two seasons:
9. Lubomir Visnovsky, Kings GP 151 G 26 A 73 PTS 99
9. Ryan Whitney GP 157 G 26 A 73 PTS 99
11. Kimmo Timonen, Predators/Flyers GP 160 G 21 A 78 PTS 99
from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
(Ryan) Whitney, whose point total dropped from 59 in 2006-07 to 40 last season, underwent surgery to correct a left-foot misalignment Friday in Charlotte. Full recovery from the procedure, an osteotomy, usually takes three to five months.
“I just couldn’t live on one healthy foot anymore, let alone try to skate,” Whitney said Thursday, on the eve of his surgery. “We’ve tried everything to avoid surgery because we knew it would mean missing a chunk of the season. But nothing worked.”
thanks to a KK reader for the pointer…
added 9:22am, Ray Shero comments on the surgery,
“Ryan has been bothered by this condition in his foot for some time,” Shero said. “He consulted with a number of specialists in an effort to correct the problem without surgery, but it was ultimately determined that surgery was the best path to take – for his general well-being, and for his career.
“Obviously, he will miss the start of the 2008-09 season, but the doctors tell us he will be able to play pain-free when he returns to the lineup this season.”
Mario Lemieux said the Penguins were never serious about leaving Pittsburgh.
“It wasn’t a possibility,” Lemieux said during a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for Pittsburgh’s new $290 million hockey arena.
“We had to do a few things to put pressure on the city and the state, but our goal was to remain here in Pittsburgh all the way. Those trips to Kansas City and Vegas and other cities was just to go, and have a nice dinner and come back.”
-more at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
“This is an exciting day for the Penguins and our region, and we will be proud to be the anchor tenant of this new multi-purpose facility,” said Lemieux. “We look forward to opening the NHL season here in October 2010.”
more and check out the fly-through video below…
from Empty Netters,
...That’s a challenge the Penguins face heading into the 2008-09 season. It was a challenge the Ducks faced last season after winning the Cup in 2006-07. As Dan Wood of the Orange County Register recently pointed out, a shorter summer in 2007 for the Ducks probably helped lead to their disappointing first-round loss in the 2008 playoffs to the Stars.
After winning the Cup on June 6, 2007, the Ducks enjoyed a brief 115 days off before starting up again on Sept. 29 in London. That was the shortest offseason for any NHL team. The Penguins will own that distinction this offseason by having only 122 days off since losing the Cup to the Red Wings on June 4.
more with a chart lisiting how many days a team will have enjoyed their summer vacation…
from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Sidney Crosby’s offseason training gets serious Monday when he hits the ice. The only day he plans to take off between then and Sept. 17—the opening of Penguins’ training camp—is Thursday, his 21st birthday.
Yep, Sid’s days as a Kid are numbered. He will celebrate with some junior hockey friends at a barbecue at his home in Nova Scotia….
Q: So what adult beverage does “Sid the Kid” drink?
A: Jack Daniels or Crown Royal.
Q: Of what you have yet to accomplish before your 21st birthday, what stands out most?
A: Not finishing the deal. It’s hard not to think about it. Everybody I see brings it up. I’m reminded by it everywhere. You always see things on TV where guys had the Cup in their hometown. It’s a constant reminder. The memory of losing is not something that just goes away.
From Ron Cook at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
My money is on Michel Therrien. It’s been on Therrien since he took the Penguins coaching job in December 2005 and immediately showed he wasn’t afraid to rattle the cages to shake the losers he inherited out of their country club ways. No matter what, the players were going to do it Therrien’s way. It’s no coincidence they soon turned into winners, big winners, nearly Stanley Cup winners last season.
Now, I’m betting Therrien will break one of the most astonishing records in Pittsburgh sports history.
I’m betting Therrien will become the first coach in Penguins history—41 years and counting—to start and finish four consecutive seasons.
Steven Ovadia at Puck Update provides a contrary opinion on Therrien:
Therrien is a dangerous combination of narrow-minded and panicky. You could see it during the finals when he didn’t change anything against the Wings until he suddenly moved Ryan Malone to the top line, only to put things back the next game. I suspect we’ll see more moves like that from Therrien, and as he loses people in the locker room, which is rumored to be the case, these knee-jerk switches will be less and less effective.
I was surprised the Penguins gave Therrien a three-year extension. Watching him coach has often felt like watching someone drive a car that’s too fast.
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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