Kukla's Korner Hockey
via a Pittsburgh Penguins release,
The Pittsburgh Penguins confirmed today that they have engaged Morgan Stanley to oversee a review of their strategic options.
Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle lead the partnership that has owned the Penguins for the past 16 years – a tenure highlighted by winning the Stanley Cup in 2009 and opening a state-of-the-art arena, CONSOL Energy Center, in 2010.
“We conduct periodic reviews of our business and, because we have received several inquiries about the franchise in recent years, we decided to engage Morgan Stanley for their insight and counsel,” Lemieux and Burkle said in a joint statement. “After buying the team out of bankruptcy, ensuring its long-term future in Pittsburgh and creating a strong foundation for continued success, we believe it is time to explore our options.”
via Bob McKenzie of TSN,
Pittsburgh Penguin owners Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux have hired Morgan Stanley to explore the possibility of selling some or all of the NHL franchise.
It doesn't mean Burkle and Lemieux are necessarily getting out but they are looking at various options. It's believed Lemieux, perhaps more than Burkle, may have an interest in getting his equity share out of the franchise.
Even if Lemieux and/or Burkle decide to sell, it's believed they have some interest in retaining some involvement or connection with the team.
Morgan Stanley is the same company that facilitated the sale of the Buffalo Sabres to Terry Pegula.
via Dave Hodge of TSN,
Obviously, Dan Bylsma was Buffalo's first choice to succeed Ted Nolan as coach of the Sabres….er, well, second choice…..so the matter of draft pick compensation owed to Pittsburgh wasn't about to get in the way.
But what if Bylsma and another candidate had similar credentials, Bylsma was favoured narrowly and the other prospective coach came with no strings attached? And what if the Sabres decided to take a pass on Bylsma as a result? After all, a third-round draft pick is something of value in every other sense. Teams don't give them away with a shrug of the shoulders.
If the issue of compensation meant that Bylsma did not get the Buffalo job, he'd be justifiably upset. The Penguins would still be paying him, and the Sabres, while having to live with their decision, would wonder why they couldn't sign the best coach available free of charge. In that case, I'm guessing Bylsma and every other coach would push for a rule change, and so would the Sabres. That ought to happen, anyway. Thumbs down to draft pick compensation for fired coaches.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
The former Hart Trophy winner does have a complete no-trade clause, so he can veto any move, but the Penguins should be listening to all pitches on Malkin.
They need help, and right now. He’s their best bargaining chip.
Evander Kane, a very good winger but no all-star, fetched the Winnipeg Jets top-three defender Tyler Myers, second-line winger Drew Stafford, and two strong prospects in Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux. Surely, Malkin can get more than that.
Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford should call up St. Louis Blues counterpart Doug Armstrong, who may be looking to shake things up with his core, and ask about T.J. Oshie, David Backes and draft picks for Malkin.
Backes would be the Ryan Kesler-type second-line centre with Oshie on his wing and Patric Hornqvist could still play with Sidney Crosby on the first line. And the Penguins badly need draft picks after giving way too many away in their desire to keep current and play for the Stanley Cup now, acquiring the likes of Jarome Iginla and Marian Hossa in their failed recent runs.
Malkin, meanwhile, could play with Vladimir Tarasenko in St. Louis.
from Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters,
The 2014-15 Penguins were a mystery from the start.
Less than a week after their season ended in New York, it's still difficult to say, “The Penguins are _____.”
While “____” might be difficult to pinpoint, there are plenty of reasons to explain what they aren't; A Stanley Cup contender.
Here are ten things to examine as the Penguins enter the offseason.
- In 2012, former Rangers coach John Tortorella drew plenty of scorn (and even a $20,000 fine) when he said the Penguins were "one of the most arrogant organizations in the league."
Those seemed like ridiculous comments at the time, especially coming from a blustery windbag like Tortorella. But he couldn't have been more correct.
For the better part of a decade, the Penguins have been the NHL's glamor team. Routinely on national television and involved in high profile events such as outdoor games, they have been the darlings of the league. A lot of that was born simply out of the lucky bounce of a ping-pong ball in 2005. Much of it was justified by Stanley Cup runs in 2008 and 2009.
But that was a long time ago.
Despite having not won the Stanley Cup in six ... let's repeat that ... SIX years, they still portray themselves as the class of the NHL. In contrast, the Kings (albeit with a non-playoff appearance this spring) and the Blackhawks are the class of the NHL.
The Penguins could benefit from some a heaping spoonful of humility.
via Sportsnet (listen to the audio),
Sportsnet NHL Insider Elliotte Freidman joined Boomer & Rhett on the SN960 morning show Monday, and said the Penguins should at least consider trading superstar forward Evgeni Malkin this off-season.
“If you can get two or three pieces including a guy that can play with Crosby, don’t you have to think about it? At what point do you say yeah, we won the Stanley Cup, but that was six years ago? These two guys together make $18.2 million, and we keep losing in the playoffs because we don’t have enough support pieces.
“There are teams that could pull it off. I’m looking at a Florida, a Nashville, a team with young assets that could do this. I’m not saying if you’re the Penguins you should do it 100 per cent, but I’m saying you really have to sit down and think about it.”
Friedman adds that even the Calgary Flames could be in a position to trade for Malkin if in fact both sides were so inclined.
Both Malkin and Crosby share responsibility for the disappointments of the past several years and, even though it is an interesting exercise to discuss what might happen should one of those players be traded, the bottom line is they will only leave Pittsburgh of their own accord given they both possess no-trade/no-movement clauses.
What remains to be seen, though, is whether this is a team that can reclaim glory with their superstars eating up $18.2 million in cap space.
In the coming weeks, expect discussion about whether a Phil Kessel or Dion Phaneuf or any number of skilled but expensive and/or problematic wingers would cure what ails the Pens. These are the storylines that dog every middle of the road team looking for a magic combination. They are the storylines that are now very much the reality of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
-Scott Burnside of ESPN where you can read much more on the Penguins.
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Tearing everything apart again and starting over makes no sense. It’s easy to say Rutherford and especially Johnston should be fired. Detroit coach Mike Babcock is a free agent-in-waiting, and many fans are begging the Penguins to take a run at him. But Babcock is expected to get a huge offer to stay in Detroit or go to Toronto or Philadelphia. He won’t be worth it. Check out his NHL record. It’s not any better than Bylsma’s.
“Ron [Burkle] and Mario [Lemieux] have never given any consideration to replacing our general manager or our coach,” Morehouse said.
“The coach never had a chance to coach his team. The injuries started in training camp and never let up. We had a player diagnosed with cancer. We had another with a blood clot. We had five guys with the mumps. And that was before the regular hockey injuries.”
The injuries peaked right before the playoffs when Letang and Christian Ehrhoff went out with concussions, joining Olli Maatta (shoulder surgery) in the press box.
“You have to look at reality,” Morehouse said. “I don’t know if any team in the league would win without three of its top four defensemen.”
from Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
The Penguins aren't firing their coach or their general manager following a first-round exit in the Stanley Cup playoffs, president and CEO David Morehouse said Saturday.
“I know there's been a lot of speculation out there, but (co-owners) Ron (Burkle) and Mario (Lemieux) never once considered a change,” Morehouse said. “Jim Rutherford's our general manager, and Mike Johnston's our coach.”
Morehouse pointed to injuries as a major reason for the Penguins' struggles this season. They lost 371 man-games to injury and entered the postseason missing three of their top four defensemen in Kris Letang, Olli Maatta and Christian Ehrhoff.
“Look, we're all disappointed that we didn't go farther,” Morehouse said. “There are a lot of speculative reasons why that happened, but we have to look at reality.
“We had a new coach who almost never had a chance to coach his full team because of injuries. I don't know if there's a team in the league that could have succeeded in the playoffs without three of its top four defensemen. That's the situation we faced.”
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
So even though the Penguins don't want to end the Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin era, I'm not sure they're going to have a choice in the matter.
It's not that the franchise centers are unhappy. (They are, but they've been that way since last summer). They've lost faith in the direction of the franchise. And I'm not sure what can be said — especially to Malkin — to make things right.
Something has to be done in the wake of the Penguins' 2-1 series-ending overtime loss to the New York Rangers in Game 5 on Friday at Madison Square Garden that eliminated them from the Stanley Cup playoffs. Otherwise, the Penguins might have to sell another early playoff exit and a trade they'd rather not make.
Co-owners Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux could have a lot more to consider than whether to let pride — or stubbornness — get in the way of doing what's best for business. They must hire a new general manager, one who understands the NHL's not-so-new salary-cap dynamic, a hockey boss with autonomy to make hockey moves.
Because this isn't what Crosby and Malkin signed on for when each agreed to a second long-term contract at below market-value salary.
The Penguins are unrecognizable. They've gone from the marquee to the second stage. Or, put in hockey terms, from Stanley Cup contender to playoff pretender.
added 8:40am, from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
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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