Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
For as much as we like to analyze the Penguins, breaking down their need for another forward or two (or perhaps an entirely new third line), the ideal role for Kris Letang and whether or not GM Ray Shero should bring in goalie insurance, let's take a moment to realize something crazy.
The Pens now have 17-point lead on the next-best Metropolitan division team (New York). That's 17 points. In steamrolling the Sabres on Wednesday night, Pittsburgh sent the reminder that you can have flaws, but when you have two of the best players in the world in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin healthy and playing well, those flaws can be minimized during the regular season.
Nobody is throwing a parade for a win over the Sabres in February, but the Penguins consistency in stockpiling points and doing it in a convincing fashion --plus-49 goal differential -- is impressive.
more topics including Burnside on Olympic hockey, LeBrun on Chicago's PK and Strang on the Ducks....
from Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
He's a great kid. Occasionally a great defenseman, too.
And that's precisely why it's time to trade him.
Or at least think a whole heck of a lot about it.
To repeat, this isn't negative. It's not about Letang's maddening tendencies, his misfires or giveaways. It's certainly not about any one game — and Letang was quite good, for the record, in the 5-1 flogging of the Canadiens, including a sweet assist on a Sidney Crosby goal — nor is it about his injury-plagued season, nor even his star-crossed career.
Rather, it's quite the opposite. It's that Letang remains so valuable that he can get you a mint. And if that mint happens to involve pieces that work better with the Penguins' broader puzzle, all the more reason a trade merits robust consideration.
The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-1 last night and as sometimes happens, things can get a little heated as the game draws to an end....
14:50 Montreal Rene Bourque: 2 minutes, interference
14:50 Montreal Brandon Prust: 2 minutes, roughing
14:50 Montreal Brandon Prust: 10 minutes, misconduct
14:50 Montreal Peter Budaj: 2 minutes, goalie leave crease
14:50 Pittsburgh Brooks Orpik: 2 minutes, roughing
14:50 Pittsburgh Brooks Orpik: 10 minutes, misconduct
14:50 Pittsburgh Brooks Orpik: 10 minutes, game misconduct
14:50 Pittsburgh Marc-Andre Fleury: 2 minutes, goalie leave crease
Really very little happened but if you want to see goalies almost fighting, watch below...
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
I talked to Matt Cooke today about Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk and GM Bryan Murray meeting at league headquarters yesterday to reportedly present its forensics findings from an investigation into Melnyk’s contention that Cooke intentionally sliced defenseman Erik Karlsson’s Achilles’ tendon with his skate Feb. 13, 2013.
Here is Bruce Garrioch's story from the Ottawa Sun today.
A league source told me that whatever discussion the Sens’ brass had with the league, it won’t affect Cooke retroactively nor the Wild. Cooke played for Pittsburgh at the time of the incident.
Cooke told me of the alleged forensics presentation: “I think it’s really strange. It’s almost a full year ago that it happened. I’ve said this from the beginning and I still say it. It was a complete accident. It’s happened two or three times since with other guys (Toronto’s Dave Bolland severed a tendon from Vancouver’s Zack Kassian in November and a week after the Cooke-Karlsson incident, Winnipeg’s Zach Redmond had an artery in his thigh cut by teammate, former Wild Antti Miettinen, late in a practice at Carolina).”
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
The Penguins looked very much like a team playing just its second game in nine days against one of the worst hockey clubs in the NHL on a nondescript Monday night in January in the middle of a long season in which they are running away with the league's Metropolitan Division.
That's a long way of saying the Penguins were disinterested and stunk in a 5-1 loss to the Florida Panthers at Consol Energy Center.
All teams -- even the better teams -- have a few really rotten nights in an 82-game schedule.
I know it happens.
There is no reason to panic.
But who saw this coming?
Russian hockey star Evgeni Malkin has told R-Sport that he reassured his Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Sidney Crosby the Sochi Olympics will be safe..
Some sports stars have expressed concern over security at the February 7-23 Games after 32 people were killed last month in two bomb attacks in the nearby city of Volgograd.
"He's definitely a bit wary about the Olympics due to the events that happened, due to the explosions in Volgograd, and in Chechnya there are always blasts," Malkin told R-Sport on Thursday, referring to Crosby.
"That's the question that worries them (NHL players) the most: Will it be safe in Sochi or not? But other than that, everyone's burning to get to Russia, to play the Olympics, although they're worried about security. But I've told them that everything will be OK, that they shouldn't worry," he said.
The host city and Olympic venues are surrounded with various stringent security measures aimed at preventing disruption and terrorist attacks in a city located near Russia's restive North Caucasus provinces.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Shero made a big push for reinforcements at last year’s trading deadline, in the hopes of getting the Penguins over the top, but in an extensive conversation with him the other day in Edmonton, it didn’t sound as if he wanted to go down that path again, if at all possible. Shero essentially said that you can’t continue to deplete your organization of young assets or the chance to replace young assets through the draft every single year at the deadline.
And while he didn’t get up a single top prospect in moves that landed him Jarome Iginla, Brendan Morrow and others, you get the sense that if the Penguins have all remaining hands on deck through Mar.5, they may not be all that active this year at the deadline, even though there is currently a big gap on Crosby’s right side, thanks to the season-ending injury to Pascal Dupuis. For the moment, minor-league call-up Brian Gibbons is getting a crack at playing with Crosby and Chris Kunitz. Physically, Gibbons is cut from the Brian Gionta mold – tiny, but quick and skilled. Gibbons was leading the baby Penguins in scoring when he got the call and though his ice time has varied, and had a modest six points in his first 13 games, playing just over 11 minutes per night.
Unlike last season, where there was a limited supply of rental players available at the trading deadline, this year, the shopping list for any GM looking for reinforcements will be deeper – the likes of Ales Hemsky (Edmonton), Michael Cammalleri (Calgary) or Matt Moulson (Buffalo) all likely will be offered into the market. On paper, Hemsky looks as if he could be a fit on either of the Penguins’ top lines, a skilled and competitive player with a deep desire to win. Cammalleri had a sensational series for the Montreal Canadiens when they knocked off the Penguins in the second round of the 2010 playoffs and they have a good scouting report on Moulson, having faced him for years now when they played the New York Islanders.
more plust other NHL topics...
Sidney Crosby answered questions from hosts Scott Oake and Craig Simpson plus responded to questions from fans.
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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