Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Sean Gentille of The Sporting News,
The questions came after a game that didn't count. And really, does anything count less than a scrimmage on the first day of training camp?
Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury had to answer them, though; when you whiff on the first three pucks you publicly face after your second consecutive playoff car crash, what else could happen? That's how memories work.
So, there Fleury sat in his end locker at Consol Energy Center, as he did in the spring, talking quietly to media members about what, exactly, is so difficult about being the goaltender for the Penguins.
Do you think you'll start on Oct. 4 against the New Jersey Devils, when the games actually begin to matter?
"I've worked hard, and I hope so," Fleury said. "I love to play, I love the game and I hope I can be in there, play good and give the guys a chance to win some games."
Or is there?
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
It hurt so much that Sidney Crosby couldn’t bear to watch the Stanley Cup finals until the very last game.
The four-game sweep at the hands of the Boston Bruins ranks right up there among the lowest points in Crosby’s career.
"It stung,” the Pittsburgh Penguins captain told ESPN.com Thursday in an interview during the NHL’s Player Tour event.
"It was one of those ones that definitely took a while to wear off. Looking back, probably right until Chicago won, it was pretty tough to go a day without it crossing your mind when you’re seeing the finals going on. I didn’t watch a game until Game 6. I tried not to think about it too much, but it did pass through my mind. I think until I started working out and started to get ready for this year, it was tough to turn the page there."
The interview ran last night on CBC's The National.
from Jim Souhan of the StarTribune,
Former Twin Francisco Liriano will start for the Pirates, and former Twin Justin Morneau will bat cleanup and wear a new number: 66.
I guessed that was a result of the intense hockey fan paying homage to Penguins great Mario Lemeiux. I was wrong.
``Nope,'' Morneau said. ``It's just 33 times two.''
Morneau wore 33 during his prime with the Twins. Is 99 a possibility? ``Nope,'' he said. ``There's only one 99 for us Canadians.''
read on for some baseball talk...
from Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Hockey interest in Western Pennsylvania might not be quite on the level of, say, Montreal or Toronto -- places where the psychological well-being of an entire region seems linked to the success of its NHL franchise -- but the Penguins fan base has become as passionate as it is large.
"Besides the geographical differences and weather and stuff like that, I think [the Penguins] are a little higher on the food chain here," Scuderi said Tuesday.
"I thought Los Angeles hockey, in terms of the overall scope of the sport, picked up a lot during my four years there, but, overall, it's still lower on the food chain than basketball, and even the Dodgers when they get good.
"It's a little bit different here in Pittsburgh. There's a little more intensity around it, a little more expectation. Sometimes, it's kind of nice to come back to a place where you know it's going to mean a lot from day one, and that the people expect a lot from day one.
from Corey Masisak of NHL.com,
We're a good team with good players that are entering the prime of their careers," Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero told NHL.com. "The core of this team, and you talk about Crosby and Malkin and now Kris Letang, there's not a team over the last seven years that has won more games than the Penguins. We’ve been to the Final, we've won the Stanley Cup in that period.
"It has been four years since we've been to the Final and won the Cup. When you have Crosby and Malkin that is the expectation. I go back to the fact that there are good teams. The salary cap has evened the playing field a little bit, but those are the challenges that good teams face. We're one of those teams, I believe."
Losing to the Montreal Canadiens in the second round in 2010 was a shock, but the Penguins had made back-to-back trips to the Stanley Cup Final in 2008 and 2009 and some fatigue could be forgiven. The 2011 playoffs essentially were a throwaway, with Crosby and Malkin unavailable because of injuries; just reaching the postseason was commendable.
But in the past two seasons, things went awry. Crosby returned from his concussion problems near the end of the 2011-12 season and the Penguins were one of the favorites to win the Cup, until the rival Philadelphia Flyers bounced them in a memorably wild first-round series.
The Penguins again were one of the favorites in 2012-13. After adding Jarome Iginla, Brendan Morrow and Douglas Murray before the NHL Trade Deadline, Pittsburgh began to evoke comparisons to some of the juggernaut teams of the past two decades. They reached the Eastern Conference Final, but were dismissed by the Boston Bruins in four games, a defeat as shocking as it was swift.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
Michael Schuckers likes numbers. Schuckers is an associate professor of statistics at St. Lawrence University and director of the school’s Quantitative Resource Center. Schuckers is also cofounder of Statistical Sports Consulting, where he applies his experience in analytics toward providing numbers-based conclusions in hockey.
There are numbers, however, that Schuckers and some of his peers in analytics do not like. They are 34, 4, and 13.5 million: Rob Scuderi’s age, the number of contract years he received from the Penguins July 5, and his total salary for returning to Pittsburgh.
Of all the signings during unrestricted free agency, the former Boston College defenseman may have landed the biggest head-scratcher.
“That’s the one that sticks out to me this year,” Schuckers said. “Pittsburgh is supposed to be a team that’s fairly analytic. All the analytics I’ve seen suggest he’s well past his prime.”
continued plus additional hockey topics...
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
Where it gets interesting is when Papa Malkin says that another team, the Dallas Stars, offered his son a contract.
“You know, Dallas offered him a greater deal than the Pittsburgh. And he said, ‘No, I do not want to go there.’ The Stars had signed Sergei Gonchar. His best friend is out there playing. Why not agree?
“And Geno said he wasn’t torn about not going to Dallas. He didn’t want to change houses. ‘I’m used to Pittsburgh, the city and the team,’ he said.”
Now the thing is, this has to be some kind of misunderstanding. Malkin is currently under contract with the Penguins, and the eight-year, $76 million extension he signed this summer kicks in after next season. So there wasn’t a window during which the Stars could legally have talked to Malkin, let alone offered him a contract.
added 10:55am, from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
I have calls into the Stars and the NHL, and expect some type of response today
The guess is the Stars have had no contact with Malkin or his agent, and this is just a misunderstanding with Malkin’s father. But the NHL takes tampering seriously, and will probably at least make a few phone calls to see what happened.
read on for the interview with Malkin's father...
added 3:54pm, via Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
from Amy McConnell Schaarsmith of the Pittsburgh Posg-Gazette,
You know the Department of Motor Vehicles drill. You took a half day off work to renew your driver's license during business hours. Inside the DMV office, dozens of fellow would-be motorists with glazed expressions sprawl in rows of hard plastic chairs, their bored and cranky children squalling the misery felt by all. And there's no telling how long you will wait.
Unless you are Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, or a "celebrity" of equal fame and disruption potential, that is.
In that case, as Mr. Crosby demonstrated to amazed patrons of the Duncan Manor DMV office in McCandless Friday morning, you get to skip to the front of the line, taking care of business in minutes while mere mortals -- including fans -- wait as they must.
Some of those fans said Friday they don't mind their hero enjoying the state's policy of preferential treatment for celebrities, which is meant to keep disruption to a minimum. But others said the double standard sends the wrong message that a famous person is more important than the average human.
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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