Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
Recently, Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford indicated that the club’s starting goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury would enter the 2014-15 season without a contract extension.
Rutherford said it was not an immediate priority to re-sign the 29-year-old netminder, who is heading into the last year of a seven-year, $35 million deal. His agent, Allan Walsh, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he had no problem with that, saying the decision was “of no consequence at all.”
But that doesn’t mean that the lack of a new deal won’t be in the back of Fleury’s mind when he enters training camp next month. His friend and former Penguins teammate Brent Johnson can only imagine the impact that situation might have if he were in Fleury’s skates.
“I believe, if that were me, I’d probably take it worse than Marc [has],” Johnson told ESPN.com in a recent telephone conversation. “It could weigh on your mind. I’m not saying it will, but it could.”
The 37-year-old Johnson, who backed up Fleury for three years and knows him about as well as anyone, thinks Fleury will handle it like a true professional. A player that Johnson describes as “outgoing” and “affable,” Fleury will likely keep any anxiety or unease he may have about the situation private, Johnson said. You won’t see him spouting off to the media or griping behind closed doors, he said. Fleury will want to make his statement in the crease, instead.
from Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Johnston talked with Crosby in Pittsburgh, and then again in Nova Scotia — Johnston is from Dartmouth, Crosby from Cole Harbour — and was impressed with how Crosby handles himself off the ice.
“Look, if you want to have a leader in sports, the first thing I think the leader has to do is set an example,” Johnston said. “He sets a great example.
“You don't ever question his work ethic. You don't ever question his commitment. For a guy his age coming into the NHL and carrying the load that he's carried, I believe he's done a phenomenal job.
“Do we have to lessen the load? Yes.”
Johnston pointed to the importance of veteran leaders such as forwards Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis and Craig Adams, as well as defenseman Paul Martin.
Another key part will be letting fellow franchise center Evgeni Malkin and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury be themselves.
“We just have to lean on those guys' ability to lead,” Johnston said. “And the guys with the Fleury- and Malkin-type energy and humor, let them balance the group out a little bit.”
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Dan Bylsma hasn't gone anywhere. He has no plans to anytime soon. Pittsburgh is home and will be through hockey season, unless an NHL job opens.
Better be the right job, though.
Running the Penguins' bench for 478 games imparted the importance of stability upon Bylsma.
“I think we were a model,” Bylsma said over a wide-ranging conversation that lasted more than four hours. “We had stability, great stability. From ownership, from within the organization, with our players. I was fortunate to coach in a stable situation, and I shared that vision with my general manager — and I coached for a great general manager.
“If Ray Shero wasn't the best GM in hockey, he was definitely top three. That's what I believe.”
Penguins ownership stopped believing in Shero long before CEO David Morehouse fired him May 16. Different sides have different details about what happened and where it went wrong. The only consensus to emerge after the confounding crash is that nobody was happy with where things were.
Shero and Bylsma always figured last season was one of transition. They had a plan for this offseason. It was an intriguing one, but that job belongs to others now.
via Ryan Toohey of the Naples Daily News,
Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby and a handful other NHL players wrapped up a week of training at Germain Arena on Friday.
Rookie of the Year Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche, John Tavares and Kyle Okopso of the New York Islanders, and David Clarkson of the Toronto Maple Leafs also have been in town.
The star-studded group of players traveled to Southwest Florida to train with performance coach Darryl Belfry.
“The environment here is nice – it’s relaxed,” Crosby said. “You’re able to recharge a little bit here before the season starts."
Below, watch Crosby talk about the training the players went through. Of course, if the video does not play, just click the Naples Daily News link.
Many of you know Mario Lemieux had a great hockey career (hockey-reference.com) and was one of the greatest players to ever play in the NHL.
So on this slow summer night enjoy the 24 minute presentation on Mario Lemieux.
Speaking of the Penguins, here's a question worth mulling by Jim Rutherford-Mike Johnston: Malkin-plus-Crosby -- Can It Continue To Last: Or Is It Time To Deal The Russian?
Answer To Above: Take your best offer, Jim, and complete the change-over while keeping Captain Sid. The Gold Dust Twins are rusting.
-Stan Fischler of The Fishcler Report.
from the Pittsburgh Penguins,
The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed forward Brandon Sutter to a two-year contract, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
The deal runs through the 2015-16 campaign, and has an average annual value of $3.3 million.
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.
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.
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