Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: pittsburgh penguins
From Sportsnet: Brandon Dubinsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets cross-checked Sidney Crosby in the back of the head, and Dubinsky got 2 minutes for cross-checking:
Phil Kessel is a little...let's say socially challenged...but it's refreshing to hear Kessel tell the Pittsburgh and Toronto media that he simply doesn't care about the "spotlight" involved with returning to Toronto tomorrow night:
Among the items that USA Today's Kevin Allen believes are overreactions levied far too early in the 2015-16 NHL season:
Coach Bruce Boudreau is on the hot seat in Anaheim C’mon folks. This is a parity league, and even quality teams struggle on occasion. You wouldn’t even pay attention to their 0-2-1 stretch if this was the middle of January. The Ducks are in a scoring slump, probably caused by players trying to find chemistry with new teammates. Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry don’t have a point. Do you think the NHL has magically discovered how to stop that duo after a decade of domination? The Ducks are a contender. They have the necessary ingredients to make it happen. Boudreau will be judged by what happens next spring, not what happens in the first three games of the season.
The 1-3 Penguins are already in a world of hurt Let’s take a step back here and remember that the three teams that have defeated the Penguins are a combined 11-1, including the white-hot Canadiens. We know that Crosby is eventually going to score plenty, and the Pittsburgh power play will likely end up as one of the league’s best. The Penguins have given up an average of two goals per game in the four games. They would be thrilled with that goals-against average for an entire season. This is another team that is trying to figure out how to best use new personnel. It’s too early to assess where the Penguins are going this season.
Connor McDavid has been slow to adjust Now you understand why general manager Peter Chiarelli tried to tamp down the hype over this future superstar. Although McDavid has an overflowing amount of skill, he’s still an 18-year-old trying to find his way against the world’s best players. The lack of points (one goal) is not a shock to the Oilers. They understood that even budding superstars need time to sort out what works and what doesn’t. His point total will grow significantly as he gains experience. Don’t forget that he is not playing with a Stanley Cup contender. He is surrounded by players still exploring their own games. If you have watched McDavid in his first four games, you can see his potential dominance bubbling just below the surface. He always seems like he’s a half-second from a breakaway.
Sportsnet's Chris Johnston reports that all is going well for Phil Kessel in Pittsburgh thus far, and Kessel's teammates certainly vouch for the ever-guarded #81:
"He’s pretty funny," said Crosby. "You know what, he’s just comfortable. He seems like he’s been here a lot longer than a month or whatever."
"We have fun with him — that's one part I'm a little bit surprised [about]," said David Perron, who met Kessel for the first time at training camp and now occupies the locker stall beside him.
"You never know what kind of guy you're going to get. He's been awesome, he's been pretty funny. Guys keep him loose."
These are the early days of what should be a long marriage. Kessel is under contract through 2020-21 and carries a cap hit of $6.8-million (the Leafs are covering the other $1.2-million) to go with a limited no-trade clause.
Often a change of scenery has a positive impact on a player, especially one coming from a team that missed the playoffs five of the last six years and is being promised more freedom.
"It's a tough market in Toronto," said Perron. "I think he was loving it there, but maybe it was time to move on. I don't know all that happened there. We're really happy to have him."
Among the Ottawa Citizen's Ken Warren's "Five Takes":
ROAD SWEET ROAD?: As the Senators packed for the season opening road trip, Bobby Ryan and Patrick Wiercioch were among those who said it was easier starting the season away from Canadian Tire Centre. Now, they have some solid stats to back up that argument.
The Senators went into Thursday’s game against Pittsburgh with a perfect 3-0 record on the road, extending their undefeated regular season road record to 17 games (14-0-3), dating back to February.
The Senators aren’t alone. Montreal (4-0-0), Vancouver (3-0-0) and Winnipeg (3-1-0) also kick-started their seasons with hot road starts.
Before Thursday’s games, road teams had gone 29-19-1.
Home teams? 20-25-4. That includes the woeful start by the Los Angeles Kings, outscored 12-2 in losing their opening three games on home ice. If they keep this up, they’ll be facing a ridiculous climb to a playoff spot by the time they play their first road game Oct. 22.
From the Canadian Press:
The Stanley Cup is headed to Anaheim this season, according to a video game simulation of the NHL season.
EA Sports says its "NHL 16" simulation has the Ducks winning the Presidents' Trophy, symbolic of the best regular-season record, and then defeating the Montreal Canadiens in the Cup final. Anaheim forward Corey Perry claims the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
The Ducks defeat the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference final while the Habs dispatch the Pittsburgh Penguins in the East final.
EA, which develops the hockey video game in suburban Vancouver, had the Los Angeles Kings winning the Cup last season in its pre-season simulation and the St. Louis Blues the year before that.
The new simulation has the Buffalo Sabres, who finished last in the 2014-15 standings, missing out on the playoffs by just two points. The Los Angeles Kings make it back to the post-season only to lose in seven games to the Calgary Flames in the first round.
Update: Here's EA's video of their simulation:
From NHL.com's Wes Crosby:
With the opening of the 185,000-square-foot UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, the Pittsburgh Penguins hope to be considered to host the NHL Draft Combine in the future.
The Penguins' new practice facility, which will also serve as a public skating rink, sports medicine clinic and physical therapy center, was unveiled Friday and will open to the public Monday. Unlike in seasons past, when they primarily practiced at Consol Energy Center when not on the road, Pittsburgh is expected to skate at the complex for each practice this season.
With the perceived advantages the facility provides, the Penguins have expectations for it to become more than a practice rink.
"I think it gives us the opportunity to potentially host the NHL Draft Combine, because we'd be the only facility where you wouldn't have to bring in the medical testing; we already have it here," Penguins vice president of communications Tom McMillan said. "We've already talked to the NHL about that. We're certainly going to be in the bidding for the World Cup of Hockey training camps. We think those kind of events that we wouldn't have been able to access before, this gives us an opportunity to do those things.
"Those are snippets. But it's just nice to know you have that kind of facility."
Within the complex's half-mile perimeter are two full-size hockey rinks, one specifically for the Penguins and one for public use; a sports medicine clinic with 24 private patient rooms; a physical therapy gym that overlooks Pittsburgh's practice rink; on-site MRI and X-ray imaging; 1,500 square feet of hockey-skills training space; and 14 locker rooms.
This is interesting...
Update: It's official:
From ESPN's Joe McDonald:
There’s no denying the impact Mark Recchi had during his 22-year career. He won three Stanley Cups with three different teams: the Pittsburgh Penguins (1991), the Carolina Hurricanes (2006) and the Boston Bruins (2011). He made a difference both on and off the ice wherever he played. Recchi could have retired after a disappointing 2009-10 season in Boston, but decided he wanted to go out a winner and stayed for one more season, helping the Bruins hoist the Cup with a win over the Vancouver Canucks in 2011. He officially announced his retirement while celebrating with his teammates on the ice at Rogers Arena. "Rex" didn’t earn induction in 2015.
The Case For
Not many can go out the way Recchi did. I still remember the image of him sitting at his locker at TD Garden after the Bruins lost in historic fashion to the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals. The Bruins had a 3-0 series lead, but the Flyers erased that deficit and won in seven games. By the time the media was allowed in the Bruins’ locker room, all of the players were out of their equipment with the exception of Recchi. The only piece of equipment hanging in his stall was his helmet. The 2010 version of the Bruins missed their opportunity, and Recchi knew it. He said he needed time to decide whether or not he would retire. It didn’t take him long to realize the team’s potential, so he signed another one-year deal for 2010-11. It was that drive, determination and never-say-die attitude throughout his entire career that made Recchi so good, and the players around him better.
His contributions on the ice were impressive, too. He finished with 577 goals and 1,533 points (12th all time) in 1,652 games. He produced three 100-point seasons. He was extremely durable, too, routinely playing a full 82-game season. Plus, three Cup championships speaks for itself. He’s one of only three players to win a Cup with three different teams, joining Joe Nieuwendyk and Claude Lemieux.
Hockey Night in Canada's Ron MacLean spoke with Sportsnet's Luke Fox regarding five "hot topics":
On what the Phil Kessel trade means to Pittsburgh: “It’s great for Sidney Crosby. The challenge with Sid, thinking back to the Vancouver Olympics, is figuring out who to play with him. Finally after about three games, coach Mike Babcock said, ‘Sid, who do you think?’ And he said Eric Staal and Jarome Iginla. I see Kessel as maybe that triggerman that Sidney needs.
On 2015′s biggest free agent, Mike Babcock, moving to Toronto:“Mike Babcock is a big believer in ghost rosters. He doesn’t want too many of the same players. I’m not sure the Leafs had too many other Kessels, to be honest. Toronto will assemble a team in Mike Babcock’s version of teams.
“Mike didn’t want Marty St. Louis, who was the leading scorer in the National Hockey League [in 2013] to go to the Sochi Olympics because he had set out a roster of what he had in mind. He told Steve [Yzerman]: ‘You can pick him, but I won’t be able to play him.’ And Yzerman drafted according to Mike both at Sochi and Vancouver.
“In Vancouver at six in the morning, Yzerman called him and said, ‘Are you up?’ Mike said, ‘I’m a coach. I’m always up.’ And he let him make the final selection on forwards. Mike took Jonathan Toews and put him on the checking line with Rick Nash and Mike Richards—very unconventional. That’s what’s happening in Toronto: Mike’s doing the ghost roster as he sees fit.”
From TSN's Bob McKenzie:
This was unexpected:
USA Today's Kevin Allen discussed the maturation of Sidney Crosby--or perhaps the lack of the need for any real maturation--in a particularly long "backgrounder," and this...Well, this is, in my opinion, why people find Crosby so frustrating in terms of his off-ice personality:
"I'm pretty old-fashioned," Crosby told USA TODAY Sports. "I never feel the need to say where I am. Because I do a lot of interviews, people might believe I want my opinion heard. But I don't ever feel a need to share my opinion. This just comes with the territory."
Some athletes bristle at tough questions, or joust with the news media about questions being asked. But that's not Crosby's style because it's not his personality.
"When you are asked a question, that question reflects someone else's opinion," Crosby said. "And my opinion may be different than their opinion, but it's not the place to get into an argument over my opinion and your opinion. They are trying to do their job the best they can, and I have to do my job by answering the question the best I can."
Okay, this trade is just weird. Marcel Goc is a solid grinder, and the Blues have grinders. The Penguins already have some acerbic players, but Max Lapierre? He's the king of dick mountain:
The wheels may be coming off the train in Minnesota, which dropped a 7-2 decision to Pittsburgh on Tuesday evening...
But Mike Yeo isn't the coach who had to deal with the hardest news on Tuesday evening:
Thyroid cancer, mumps and now shoulder surgery. Bad year to be Olli Maatta.
Because TSN doesn't give us nearly enough Bob McKenzie thanks to the NHL's new TV deal with both Sportsnet and McKenzie's TSN = a whole hell of a lot of geo-blocking videos, here's 2:35 of McKenzie talking about the NHL's mumps outbreak with NBCSN's Kathryn Tappen (via Pro Hockey Talk's Dhiren Mahibian).
McKenzie explains that Sidney Crosby had already suffered damage to his salivatory gland thanks to a scrap with Riley Nash, so that was the reason that the Penguins allowed him to meet with the media--and he does a superb job of explaining why childhood immunizations aren't 100% effective:
My hope is that the NHL's teams, which are finally providing booster shots to players, coaches and team personnel (from a Wings perspective, it was fascinating to hear Mike Babcock's lecture on the subject because he revealed that many European players don't get the mumps-measles-ruebella vaccine) will be fitting the bill for booster shots for the media.
Working with NHL players = understanding that you're going into an environment in which massive amounts of physical activity, sweaty equipment, heavy travel schedules and workloads for everybody and everyone bringing in the germs of any school-age kids to a giant petri dish of handshakes, coughing, spitting, sweating and talking in close proximity...
But the fact that this virus can be passed on while people aren't displaying symptoms + vaccine success rates in the 85% range = there's significant risk for not only the NHL's family, but also the families of the people who cover the team. Prophylactic immunization of all adults interacting regardless of employer makes the most sense here in terms of nipping this damn thing in the bud.
As Pro Hockey Talk's James O'Brien notes, this Tweet yielded more than its share of concern and panic for Penguins fans...
But the Penguins clarified the situation:
Sidney Crosby registered 5 assists in the Pittsburgh Penguins' 6-1 win over Buffalo on Saturday, and NHL.com posted a highlight clip spotlighting Crosby's assists:
(Oh, the oblviousness of the Root Sports gang...)
Tonight we all stand on guard for thee, Canada.
Oh boy. Per the QMI News Agency:
Pittsburgh Penguins centre Sidney Crosby was arrested by Ottawa Police late Tuesday while driving a rented Porsche, sources have told QMI Agency.
Reasons of his arrest were unknown, but appear to be driving related.
Sources say Crosby was taken to the Ottawa police headquarters on Elgin street for fingerprinting and a mugshot.
It is unknown at this time why the NHL star was in Ottawa.
Ottawa Police have been unable to be reached for comment.
I hope he's okay and I hope that this isn't what I think it might be.
added 7:57am, via the CP and TSN,
Ottawa police are denying a published report that they arrested NHL superstar Sidney Crosby.
QMI Agency quoted sources as saying the Pittsburgh Penguins captain was arrested late Tuesday while driving a rented Porsche.
The report said the reason for the arrest was unknown but that it appeared to be "driving related."
The Ottawa police duty desk told The Canadian Press: "It never happened."
Ottawa police Chief Charles Bordeleau also tweeted that the police "have had no dealings with Mr. Crosby."
The Penguins also confirmed to TSN that Crosby is in Vail, Colorado training for the start of the season. "Penguins confirm, Crosby is in Vail, Colorado training this week," tweeted TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger on Wednesday morning.
Paul and I scratched our heads regarding the Naples News' rather relaxed interview with Sidney Crosby, who was skating at Germain Arena in Esthero, FL (home of the ECHL's Florida Everblades) alongside Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, John Tavares and Kyle Okposo...But strength and conditioning coach Darryl Belfry's camp was supposed to be hush-hush from the get-go, so protocol ws followed.
The AP made sure to dispatch a correspondent to speak with Crosby before he left Southwestern Florida, however, and Crosby addressed the state of his not-surgically-repaired right wrist (albeit in classic Cliche Crosby mode)...
Pittsburgh Penguins star center Sidney Crosby's right wrist appears to be on the road to recovery. The reigning NHL MVP said Friday he's pleased with the way his wrist has responded to treatment over the summer and is anxious for training camp to begin as the Penguins try to recover from their second-round collapse in the playoffs.
"It's good," Crosby said. "You want to see how things progress throughout the summer once you start skating and get back to that regular routine. You want to see how it reacts so I'm happy with the way it's gone."
And Crosby addressed his team's roster, behind-the-bench and front office changes as well (and the AP reports that David Clarkson also attended the camp):
Sidney Crosby is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery on his right wrist within the next few days to repair damage that a source said impeded his performance in the postseason.
Despite saying during and after the Stanley Cup playoffs that he was at full health, the Penguins center "did play with a terrible wrist," the source said Tuesday night.
Crosby could not be reached for comment.
An individual close to Crosby, who requested anonymity, said the surgical procedure "is not major, but you can't play the same way" with the kind of injury Crosby had.
You are probably familiar with the dynamics of the Joe Thornton situation (seems like the theory is, "Take the 'C' away, see if he waives the no-trade," as ESPN's Craig Custance reported), you are probably familiar with the dynamics of the Ryan Kesler trade (he says he's going to where deserves to be, and in Vancouver, it's, "Everybody thought he was a dick"), so:
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch pulled double-time in covering the Sens' picks, Jason Spezza's situation (what's so bad about a guy turning down a trade to a team that's on his no-trade list? Emo GM Bryan Murray will tell you) and positing a Sunday rumor column, and he addresses a situation we haven't necessarily talked about as of yet:
There has been a lot of controversy in Chicago over whether the Hawks have been trying to deal forward Patrick Sharp or not. While it was heavily denied by Sharp’s agent Rick Curran that his client was on the move, Sharp’s name has been popping up all over the place in trade talks. Several teams say he’s available, so it will be interesting to see if he’s still there when push comes to shove after this summer. The Hawks are already over the salary cap and will have to cut money somewhere.
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Tags: boston+bruins, chicago+blackhawks, chris+kelly, colorado+avalanche, joe+thornton, matt+niskanen, patrick+sharp, paul+stastny, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+kesler, san+jose+sharks, thomas+vanek, vancouver+canucks
Ken Daneyko appeared on the NHL Live on Wednesday afternoon, and he made some surprising remarks.
As far as Daneyko is concerned, Matt Niskanen may turn out to be some team's modern-day version of the Rangers signing Bobby Holik to a $9 million-a-season contract as a 3rd-liner--Daneyko believes that Niskanen is not necessarily a top-two defenseman, and he feels that someone is going to overpay significantly for Niskanen having a career year. He suggests that, "Just because other teams sign outrageous contracts, it doesn't mean you should," so he feels $5-6 million is too much for Niskanen...
Daneyko also suggests that Brooks Orpik is a "complementary" stay-at-home, physical defenseman, not a puck-mover, and he wonders how much Orpik "has left in the tank" (as such, Daneyko feels that Orpik's health = term is a concern);
ESPN's Scott Burnside penned a fascinating article about the NHL draft as witnessed through the eyes of general managers and assistant general managers, including Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Claude Loiselle, Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen, Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon, Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald and Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill.
Nill suggests that, at some point, the management staff has to relinquish control to the amateur scouting staff and hope for the best:
Nill was at the Detroit draft tables when the Wings repeatedly came up with the proverbial diamonds in the rough: Datsyuk with the 171st pick in 1998; Zetterberg at 210 in 1999; Tomas Holmstrom at 257 in 1994. The Red Wings rarely drafted anywhere near the top of the first round thanks to their winning ways during that time, but the mandate was still the same, Nill said: Find good players who could help the team, no matter where the Wings were drafting.
"Those were special players. But at the time we didn't know that. You don't know it until three or four years down the road," Nill said.
This year's draft will be Nill's second as the GM of the Dallas Stars. It has been a period of evolution for someone who used to be one of the guys who put eyes on hundreds of youngsters at hundreds of games every season. Living in Detroit, he could see junior, college, AHL and NHL games all within a few hours' drive. Not so in Dallas, and his job description precludes those kinds of trips anyway.
Just as longtime Detroit GM Ken Holland had to trust Nill and his scouting staff to identify the right players for the Red Wings, Nill now has to step back and convey that trust to the Stars' staff.
"I had to hand over the reins," Nill said. "If you're going to be a manager, you're going to have to let it go."
Does this count as interviewing a "renegade coach?" The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Rossi reports that Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has something of a fall-back plan:
“My concentration right now is on a guy that would have been on my original list, but I was told he had a commitment,” Rutherford said Tuesday.
Rutherford would not identify his candidate, but team and league sources told the Tribune-Review that Mike Johnston has interviewed with Rutherford. Johnston is the general manager and coach for Portland of the Western Hockey League, where he worked with Penguins top prospect Derrick Pouliot.
His Portland clubs qualified for the WHL playoffs in three of his four full seasons, but he also was suspended for most of the 2012-13 season after a league investigation found Portland violated rules by providing benefits to players and their families.
Among Portland's team penalties were a $200,000 fine and forfeiture of first-round selections in the bantam drafts from 2014-17. Portland ownership and Johnston disputed the severity of the punishment, but Johnston also accepted it.
From the NHL:
NHL ANNOUNCES 2013-14 ALL-STAR TEAMS
LAS VEGAS (June 24, 2014) -- Center Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and defenseman Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins, who each earned his third career berth on the First All-Star Team, head the list of players voted to the 2013-14 National Hockey League postseason All-Star Teams. Crosby received First Team honors for the second consecutive season, while Chara earned a spot on the First Team for the first time since 2008-09.
Joining Crosby and Chara are two second-time selections to the First Team, right wing Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks and defenseman Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks. The squad also features two first-time recipients, left wing Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars and goaltender Tuukka Rask of the Bruins.
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Tags: alex+ovechkin, alex+pietrangelo, anaheim+ducks, boston+bruins, boston+bruins., chicago+blackhawks, colorado+avalanche, corey+perry, dallas+stars, duncan+keith, jamie+benn, joe+pavelski, nashville+predators, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+getzlaf, san+jose+sharks, semyon+varlamov, shea+weber, sidney+crosby, st.+louis+blues, washington+capitals, zdeno+chara
I'll try to keep a "live tally" of the NHL Awards show via Twitter-based updates:
Ted Lindsay Award (NHLPA MVP): Sidney Crosby:
Selke Trophy (best defensive forward): Patrice Bergeron:
Sidney Crosby is currently in Vancouver, attending Hockey Canada's end-of-hockey-year awards banquet, and ESPN's Pierre LeBrun also happens to be attending the event, so LeBrun asked Crosby to weigh in on the Penguins' front-office tumult (i.e. the firing of Ray Shero and then Dan Bylsma):
"Yeah, it's a new situation for us," Crosby told ESPN.com on Monday, in town with other Canadian Olympic teammates to receive their championship gold medal rings.
"We haven't had a big change like that since going back to the year we won when you think about it. It's never something you want to see happen, Crosby said. "Obviously with the expectations being so high like they are in Pittsburgh, we understand that it comes with it. The unfortunate part is, most times the coach or the GM pays the price. It's definitely not something you want to be dealing with every year. We didn't do a good enough job. Personally, it wasn't the playoff I wanted to have. It's something I have to learn from and definitely be better for it."
Crosby, off to Las Vegas on Tuesday where he's favored to win his second career Hart Trophy as NHL MVP, said he's spoken with both Ray Shero and Dan Bylsma since their firings. The Penguins hired Jim Rutherford to replace Shero, but remain in the market for a new head coach.
"Yeah, I mean we won a Stanley Cup together. You feel like you let them down," Crosby said. "As a player you have to get the job done. You feel a sense of responsibility for that and like I said, the coach and the GMs are usually the ones that pay the price. We had some good years together. You know that they'll be working pretty soon and be part of another team. But it's still not easy."
Crosby and LeBrun continue...
The New York Times' Lynn Zinser offers a take on the Rangers-Kings series which ponders, "Is the West simply better?" theory from a slightly different (and noteworthy) perspective:
This ridiculously uphill battle, however, is brought to you by an N.H.L. that has seen its balance of power slip out of whack. The West has been reliably the better of the two conferences for quite some time, with its teams winning the season series against the East in every season since 2005-6. The West has also won five of the last seven Stanley Cups and six of the last eight Presidents’ Trophies, for the team with the best regular-season record.
That strength has only been increasing. In these playoffs, the quality of the two conference finals series were so far apart that a Stanley Cup finals sweep might have been predicted no matter which team won the West. The Chicago Blackhawks, after all, have won two of those recent five Stanley Cups, and the Kings were champs two years ago.
Updated 2x at 9:19 PM: Paul did a helluva job of covering the "gist" of the GM's meetings, but here are some items that I noticed on Twitter and feel merit mentioning, starting with Craig Custance's chat with Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman...
In Penguins and Maple Leafs news, from Sportsnet's Chris Johnston...
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Tags: brooks+orpik, bryan+murray, buffalo+sabres, chicago+blackhawks, dale+tallon, dan+bylsma, dave+nonis, david+poile, florida+panthers, gerard+gallant, james+neal, jason+spezza, jim+rutherford, jonathan+toews, marc+crawford, matt+niskanen, nashville+predators, ottawa+senators, patrick+kane, pittsburgh+penguins, ron+wilson, shea+weber, stan+bowman, tim+murray, tom+renney, toronto+maple+leafs
The Florida Sun-Sentinel's Harvey Filakov reports two important items regarding the Florida Panthers' coaching and draft plans.
First, Filakov reports that the Panthers will interview former Penguins coach Dan Bylsma before circling back to a set of coaches who will speak with the Panthers' new ownership regarding their coaching philosophies...
The Panthers coaching search will pick up steam this week as six front-runners for the vacancy, including fired Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, will meet with the team's brain-trust in New York City, according to a team source.
Other than Bylsma, the other five leading candidates have all met or spoke to General Manager Dale Tallon, but now will also sit down with the team's co-owners, Vinnie Viola and Doug Cifu, as well as CEO/President Rory Babich.
Those repeaters are believed to be Ron Wilson, Canadiens' assistant Gerard Gallant, former Stanley Cup — winning coach Marc Crawford, and Red Wings' assistants Tom Renney and Bill Peters.
While Filakov continues at significant length regarding the coaching search and the Panthers' hopes that they can land one of Brooks Orpik or Matt Niskanen if Bylsma joins the Panthers, this tidbit about the Panthers' draft plans is a wee bit more newsworthy:
I kind of "stole" the prime quotes from the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson's main Hockey World column for my Malik Report overnight entry, but I smiled broadly and nearly laughed out loud form the Blog Cave while reading Holland tell Matheson the same dang thing--almost word for word--that Babcock's been repeating to journalists and radio talk show hosts who can't or won't believe that Babcock will remain with Detroit when he can coach anywhere he wants after his contract's up a summer from now:
“I don’t believe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence … I believe he’s happy in Detroit, but there are options,” said Holland, whose contract is also up next July, but will certainly get a new one from owner Mike Ilitch.
Holland has got the Red Wings into the playoffs in each of his 17 seasons. There were three Stanley Cup championships in 1998, 2002 and 2008, plus a Game 7 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009.
Late-season rallies were required to keep a 23-year playoff streak alive while the Red Wings integrated lots of young players — Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurko, Danny DeKeyser — into the lineup each of the last two years.
“Two years ago, we won our last four games to get into the playoffs. This year, we got in again (despite a terrible run of injuries),” said Holland. “Mike’s a tremendous coach, if not the best coach in the league, then one of the best.”
Matheson's main column focuses on Babcock and Holland, but he also included this nugget of wisdom from Ottawa Senators assistant coach Perry Pern (regarding Barry Trotz's attempts to get Alex Ovechkin to "buy in" to playing defense, as Matheson addressed in a Sunday afternoon column):
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Tags: alex+ovechkin, barry+trotz, detroit+red+wings, george+mcphee, julien+brisebois, ken+holland, kris+letang, marian+hossa, mike+babcock, montreal+candiens, perry+pearn, philadelphia+flyers, phoenix+coyotes, pittsburgh+penguins, pk+subban, pk+subban, ray+shero, washington+capitals
The New York Post's Larry Brooks is on an aggravated roll this morning. His Sunday notebook questions whether Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien should be fined or suspended for suggesting that his Canadiens will target New York Rangers forward Derick Brassard...
What exactly did Therrien mean, and what message was the coach attempting to send to his players, or anyone else, by stating: “We expect Derick Brassard to play and we know exactly where he’s injured. Hockey is a small world…”?
It was an outrageously irresponsible statement from an adult in a position of responsibility — at worst a threat, a threat to re-injure. If anything happens to Brassard now, what else would anyone think?
He believes that the Pittsburgh Penguins owners' comments regarding Ray Shero's body of work as Pittsburgh's GM suggest that the ownership wants more input on player personnel decisions...
The CBC's Elliotte Friedman just posted his "30 Thoughts" column, and after wondering how the Penguins will be able to keep all of their unrestricted free agents-to-be, even with the rising cap (they won't be able to do so--a trade will be necessary or people will walk), he offers more than a few intriguing observations. Among them:
1. Just for comparison: the 2012-13 cap was $70.2 million, similar to what we're expecting next season. Chicago won with its top-three salaried players (Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews) taking 26 per cent. Kane and Toews can be extended this summer, with the new deals beginning in 2015-16. That percentage is going to go up, but by how much? They took almost $5 million less than Crosby/Malkin per season on their second deals, critical to their second Stanley Cup (and maybe more). Western Conference opponents are expecting to deal with them for eight additional years. "I hope [their salary number] starts with a nine," one rival exec laughed.
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Tags: anaheim+ducks, chris+osgood, dale+weise, detroit+red+wings, evgeni+malkin, john+gibson, jonathan+toews, mario+lemieux, mike+babcock, milan+lucic, patrick+kane, pittsburgh+penguins, ray+shero, sidney+crosby
Well this took five minutes...Per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Rossi, the Penguins may or may not clear the coaching and managerial decks after yet another playoff failure:
Penguins ownership will consider a sweeping overhaul that could include terminating general manager Ray Shero in addition to Dan Bylsma and the members of the coaching staff, multiple sources told the Tribune-Review. Ownership specifically is concerned about a perceived lack of accountability for players, overall team toughness and unproductive drafts, the sources said.
The sources also said Penguins ownership might not want to undergo a complete front-office shakeup with only about a month before the NHL Entry Draft.
No decisions have been made, and they will not be rushed, the sources said.
George here on the late shift, with an eyebrow raised given USA Today's Kevin Allen's bluntness in questioning the Pittsburgh Penguins' ability to show composure when playoff series are on the line:
The Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins both need to win one game today to reach their respective conference finals, yet the teams are in stunningly different places in how the hockey world perceives them.
We expect the Blackhawks to find a way to win, because they have done that consistently for the last five springs.
We have no idea what to expect from the Penguins, because their playoff performances have been inconsistent over the last five springs.
If the Penguins want to see what their team could be like — or should be like — they need only to look across the conference divide and watch the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks are not a perfect team, but they seem to possess the necessary survival skills that allow them to wiggle their way out of bear traps.
The New York Rangers climbed back into their series with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, turning the tables on a team that's offensively dominated them via a 5-1 win in Pittsburgh...
But "the story" of the game didn't involve Derek Brassard's 2-goal game or Henrik Lundqvist's 31-save performance: it involved the inspiration the Rangers took from a player who posted no points in Martin St. Louis.
ESPN's Scott Burnside suggests that St. Louis' presence in the lineup--a day after his mother passed away--inspired the Rangers to reestablish their game:
Where we saw a New York Rangers team drained of emotion, fragile, beaten; they revealed themselves to be proud, defiant, finding a hitherto unknown wellspring of will in beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 in Game 5 to keep their playoff hopes alive for at least one more game.
Maybe it was the emotionally charged locker room as the Rangers rallied around a grief-stricken Martin St. Louis who chose to return to Pittsburgh from Montreal to play in Game 5 after his mother passed away suddenly Thursday.
There is no denying that his decision to return to his teammates, many of whom he has known only a matter of months since coming to the Rangers from Tampa Bay at the trade deadline, resonated throughout the locker room.
"We are a team and we're a close team. In the short time he's been here, he's pretty magnetic. He's got a love for this game and being around the rink and the guys already that we all appreciate and know, and the respect that we have for him. It was tough for all of us. But that's something that was impressive watching him tonight," Brian Boyle said. He's a special, special person."
Burnside continues, and here's a highlight clip...
George here on the late shift. I'm getting ready to wake up a little bit early to watch Wings players take part in the World Championships, which begin on Friday. The European press tends to look at the NHL playoffs from a rather Machiavellian perspective--sometimes actively rooting against the teams whose players include important national team contributors--and as such, I had one thought as Evgeni Malkin's 1-0 goal slithered past a goaltender who's more or less been left to his devices in Henrik Lunqvist:
"[Team Sweden coach and GM] Par Marts must be watching this game thinking, 'I can get Henke to Minsk by Sunday!'"
The Penguins defeated Lundqvist's Rangers 4-2, taking a 3-games-to-none series lead, and while the Penguins lost Brooks Orpik's services, the Rangers' combination of struggling stars on offense and a sometimes-shaky defense reminds me of--dare I say it?--the Wings-Bruins series.
The CBC's Don Cherry had a very selective memory on Saturday evening. He lamented Brandon Dubinsky's ability to attack Sidney Crosby at will in Game 1 of the Penguins-Blue Jackets series, he mocked Duncan Keith for jabbing at the Blues' stars--suggesting that Keith "got Seabrook pumped up" (before sidestepping that topic)--he reviewed the Blues' game-winning goal against Chicago, lamenting Patrick Kane not blocking a shot, he very briefly praised Pavel Datsyuk's game-winner and suggested that the Wings are the worst team for the Bruins to play as their lack of retaliation prevents the Bruins from playing their game (no Loosick mention on Saturday), and then he praised Corey Perry scoring against Dallas and Ryan Getzlaf's persistence (no spear there, either).
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TSN's Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger chatted with the NHL Network's Rob Roe on Tuesday evening, and they made some surprising statements.
- According to both McKenzie and Dreger, John Tortorella's snub of Roberto Luongo in the Heritage Classic did in fact prompt Luongo's agent, Pat Brisson, to ask if he could speak to several NHL teams about moving his client;
- The gents also claim that the Canucks want to trade Ryan Kesler and Alex Edler independently of the Luongo situation, with Kesler willing to go to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit Anaheim and possibly other teams (but not the Rangers), and that the Canucks will hold out for the best offer, even if that means trading Kesler at another time;
- The New York Rangers are still considering re-signing Ryan Callahan, signing and trading him or just trading him;
- The Buffalo Sabres are at least considering moving Matt Moulson, perhaps to Los Angeles, but Calgary's Mike Camalleri is also another "goal-scoring winger" on the market, as might be Chris Stewart, but the Sabres in particular cannot carry any more salary in making trades;
- The Sabres may consider moving Christian Ehrhoff or Tyler Myers, and the Red Wings may be interested, specifically in Ehrhoff, but the Wings are in a "transition year," so Ken Holland has to decide whether he's willing to bite on the Sabres' price;
- And regarding Cammalleri, he, Moulson, Ales Hemsky and Thomas Vanek's futures are somewhat intertwined, with Hemsky and Cammalleri serving as the fall-back plans for the teams that don't land Kesler.
ESPN's Pierre LeBrun also penned a late-evening blog entry updating the Kesler situation, confirming that the Canucks feel no need to "settle" for anything less than their asking price:
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Tags: ales+hemsky, alex+edler, anaheim+ducks, buffalo+sabres, chris+stewart, christian+ehrhoff, detroit+red+wings, matt+moulson, mike+cammalleri, pat+brisson, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, roberto+luongo, ryan+callahan, ryan+kesler, tyler+myers, vancouver+canucks
But there are times that internet chatter drives you to post an article, and in this case, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Rossi's confirmation that the Penguins are hot on Ryan Kesler's trail merits mentioning...
Vancouver center Ryan Kesler is being pursued aggressively by Penguins general manager Ray Shero, multiple sources told the Tribune-Review on Saturday.
A proposed deal would send Kesler to the Penguins in exchange for center Brandon Sutter, two 2014 draft picks — likely a first- and third-round — and the Canucks' choice of defensemen Simon Despres or Brian Dumoulin, the sources said.
It is possible the deal could involve another Canucks and Penguins player, but Shero was looking only to acquire Kesler, the sources said.
And while I can't quote all of Rossi's article, noting of Olympic ties between Kesler, U.S. Olympic team coach Dan Bylsma and consultant/Pens GM Ray Shero included, you may take this for what you will...
The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons returned to North America from Sochi, Russia in a contemplative mood, and he's focusing on one particular topic in a Saturday night/Sunday morning column--suggesting that Jonathan Toews has succeeded Sidney Crosby as hockey's most valuable all-round player:
One player to choose to start a franchise? You can have Sidney Crosby.
I’m taking Jonathan Toews.
I’m taking the 25-year-old who already has two Stanley Cup rings and two Olympic gold medals, a player who intrinsically seems to comprehend what it takes to win and with a willingness to do whatever it means to get there.
For the second Olympic Games in succession, Toews was Canada’s best forward: His line with Jeff Carter and Patrick Marleau, was Team Canada’s strongest line throughout the Olympic hockey tournament.
He’s not fancy like his teammate, Patrick Kane, or as offensively gifted or driven as Crosby, or with a rocket shot like Steven Stamkos, or even with Phil Kessel’s speed: He is just complete. As absolute and certain as there is in today’s world of hockey.
Simmons continues, addressing numerous topics...
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Rossi, the Penguins do not plan on trading defenseman Kris Letang prior the trade deadline, though he has an 8-year contract exension kicking in this summer (with his cap hit doubling from $3.5 million to $7.25 million, per Capgeek), because, well...Letang is ill:
Kris Letang's mystery illness is not believed life threatening, but the Penguins are not sure when he will play again this season, multiple sources told the Tribune-Review.
The team planned to update Letang's condition Friday.
There were concerns last week that Letang's season — if not his career — could be in jeopardy because of the illness, the sources said.
Letang, a defenseman, has not taken the ice since Jan. 30, when he practiced but did not play at Los Angeles. He will not play against the New York Rangers at Consol Energy Center on Friday — the Penguins' final game before the NHL's Olympic break.
“There will be no update on Kris Letang until we have further update on his condition,” coach Dan Bylsma said Thursday.
Rossi continues at length, and this quip is important to fans of all 30 teams:
Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made a fantastic save on Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson en route to a 2-1 Penguins win on Monday night:
The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons weighs in on Nazem Kadri's possible trade value for the Maple Leafs, and Simmons also reveals that a certain Pittsburgh Penguins general manager wants to make Sidney Crosby available to the Canadian Olympic Committee should they want to counter Zdeno Chara's status as Slovakia's flag-bearer in his Sunday column, and, well...
Penguins general manager Ray Shero told the Toronto Sun by email Saturday that he agreed with the Boston Bruins move to allow captain Zdeno Chara to miss a National Hockey League game so the captain could carry the Slovakian flag in the opening ceremony on Feb. 7.
But what about his captain?
“Hard to turn down that opportunity,” Shero wrote. “Agreed with Boston on letting (Chara) go.”
Crosby would be an ideal choice to carry the flag, which will likely be decided among bobsledder Kaillie Humphries, hockey’s Hayley Wickenheiser, skier Erik Guay and speed skaters, Christine Nesbitt and Charles Hamelin. That didn’t seem in any way possible until the Chara move was agreed to by the Bruins.
Now that the way has been cleared it is up to the COC to make the call: The flag bearer will be announced Thursday. Is there time to make it Crosby? And does he want to do it?
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch delivers a significant amount of player personnel, front office and team intrigue in his weekly rumor roundup, but I believe that we call the following "going to one's wheelhouse":
Dave Nonis is described as patient.
His is being put to the test big-time by the Toronto Maple Leafs. After falling out of a playoff position, league sources say the club’s GM has been working the phones hard trying to find some depth up front to help the struggling club.
To get assistance, Nonis will likely have to move a defenceman and since Dion Phaneuf just signed a seven-year, $49-million extension he isn’t going anywhere. The names of Carl Gunnarsson and Jake Gardiner could be trade bait.
At the very least, it’s all intruiging.
The second most-active GM to trying make a deal: Pittsburgh’s Ray Shero and he has been dangling prospects because of all the injuries the club has had. He is looking to move a young defenceman for a forward.
Welcome to the morning after! A recap of the games from the night before and quick hit hockey news.
In Case You Missed It
Boston Bruins at Buffalo Sabres
Good night for the home team in Buffalo as the last place team took on the Atlantic Division leader and beat them 4-2.
Penalties would be the mainstay in the first period as Sabres Marcus Foligno and Bruins Matt Fraser would drop the gloves less than four minutes into the game. Both teams trying to claim the momentum swing from the early fight saw Boston take a rash of penalties.
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Tags: cooke+returns+to+pittsburgh, kings+brown+ejected, linus+omark+traded, minnesota+wild, pittsburgh+penguins, red+wings+finally+win+a+game, sabres+beat+bruins, st.+louis+blues, ville+leino+dive
Welcome to the morning after! A recap of the games from the night before and quick hit hockey news.
In Case You Missed It
Ottawa Senators are New Jersey Devils
It wouldn’t take long for the Senators to get a power play as just over a minute into the game Devils are Zidlicky would get called for hooking Erik Karlsson. The Senators power play would lead to a short-handed goal from Stephen Gionta to give the home team the early lead.
Gionta’s goal would be his first of the season followed shortly by another first of the season and Reid Boucher would net his first of the season to give the Devils a 2-0 lead over the Senators heading into the first intermission.
You know your team's becoming familiar with the NHL's Department of Player Safety when it receives an, "It's okay, guys" Tweet:
With James Neal enjoying a 5-game suspension and a remorseful Deryk Engelland set to visit Sheriff Shanny and crew on Wednesday (and there is a department of player safety) to discuss his hit on Justin Abdelkader, Pro Hockey Talk's Cam Tucker notes that Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Robert Bortuzzo did this to Jerry D'Amigo, and received a 2-minute "check to the head" penalty as a result:
D'Amigo was fine and so was Bortuzzo, who, as PHT's Tucker noted, had a very busy game.