Kukla's Korner

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Entries with the tag: pittsburgh penguins

Sidney Crosby addresses state of his wrist, Penguins’ changes

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):

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  Tags: pittsburgh+penguins, sidney+crosby

Molinari: Sidney Crosby will have surgery on his right wrist shortly

Via a Tweet from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Stephen J. Nesbitt, fellow Post-Gazette scribe Dave Molinari delivers something of a midsummer bombshell regarding the Penguins' marquee attraction:

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.

Continued

added 4:10pm,

 

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  Tags: pittsburgh+penguins, sidney+crosby

Garrioch on Sharp, the Penguins, Vanek, Niskanen and Stastny

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.

Garrioch also notes that it's a little ironic that the Penguins say they're going to be "aggressive" in free agency given their cap situation...

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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 weighs in on the NHL’s UFA-to-be defensemen

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);

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  Tags: anton+stralman, brooks+orpik, dan+boyle, matt+niskanen, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, willie+mitchell

The NHL draft is an exercise in relinquishing control

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."

Continued

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, dale+tallon, dallas+stars, florida+panthers, jim+nill, pittsburgh+penguins, toronto+maple+leafs

Penguins may be interested in Portland Winterhawks’ Mike Johnston

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.

Continued

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  Tags: jim+rutherford, pittsburgh+penguins, portland+winterhawks

NHL Names post-season All-Star team

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

NHL Awards live-ish thread and/or Tweet-results

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:

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  Tags: boston+bruins, patrice+bergeron, pittsburgh+penguins, sidney+crosby, ted+lindsay

Crosby kind-of-sort-of discusses the Penguins’ front office fandango

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...

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  Tags: dan+bylsma, jim+rutherford, pittsburgh+penguins, ray+shero, sidney+crosby

A different take on ‘the West is best’: competition breeds Cup domanance

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.

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  Tags: detroit+red+wings, los+angeles+kings, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins

Summarizing the GM’s meetings in Twitter form, plus ESPN’s LeBrun’s ‘Rumblings’

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

Panthers will interview Dan Bylsma; Aaron Ekblad likely #1 overall pick

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:

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  Tags: aaron+ekblad, dan+bylsma, florida+panthers, gerard+gallant, marc+crawford, pittsburgh+penguins, ron+wilson, tom+renney

Matheson weighs in on Babcock, Ovechkin, PK’s payday, Caps GM talk and top prospects

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

Brooks on Therrien, the Penguins’ meddlesome owners and parochial referees

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...

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  Tags: brandon+prust, derek+stepan, derick+brassard, mario+lemieux, michel+therrien, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, ray+shero

Friedman talks cap conundrums, Pens, managerial compensation, John Gibson and Babs in 30 Thoughts

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

Rossi: Penguins may clear the coaching and managerial decks

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.

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  Tags: chris+kunitz, dan+bylsma, evgeni+malkin, kris+letang, pascal+dupuis, pittsburgh+penguins, ray+shero, rob+scuderi, todd+reirden, tony+granato

USA Today’s Allen questons Penguins’ composure

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.

Allen continues...

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  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, pittsburgh+penguins

Rangers stave off elimination via inspiration

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...

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  Tags: brian+boyle, henrik+lundqvist, martin+st.+louis, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins

Rangers aren’t a bad team, but the Penguins are running them over

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.

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  Tags: alain+vigneault, brooks+orpik, carl+hagelin, dan+bylsma, evgeni+malkin, henrik+lundqvist, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, sidney+crosby

Don Cherry dekes, dangles and sprints past spears on Coach’s Corner

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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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, boston+bruins, brandon+dubinsky, brent+seabrook, columbus+blue+jackets, columbus-blue-jackets, corey+perry, detroit+red+wings, don+cherry, duncan+keith, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+getzlaf, sidney+crosby

Late-night trade deadline talk from McKenzie, Dreger and LeBrun

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

More Kesler discussion: regarding Penguins interest and his ‘list of preferred destinations’

I would prefer to leave things be, especially given that Paul already noted the Vancouver Province's Ed Willes' take on the subject...

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...

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  Tags: brandon+sutter, dan+bylsma, detroit+red+wings, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, ray+shero, ryan+kesler, simon+despres, vancouver+canucks

Simmons: Jonathan Toews is the NHL’s franchise-building player

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...

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  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, jonathan+toews, pittsburgh+penguins, sidney+crosby, team+canada

Rossi: Penguins won’t trade Letang, will update his health today

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:

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: kris+letang, pittsburgh+penguins

Marc-Andre Fleury flashes the leather, stops Karlsson

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:

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  Tags: erik+karlsson, marc-andre+fleury, ottawa+senators, pittsburgh+penguins

Simmons: Crosby might carry Canada’s flag in Sochi

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?

Simmons continues...

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  Tags: pittsburgh+penguins, ray+shero, sidney+crosby

Garrioch says Leafs, Pens are aggressively pursuing trades

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.

Garrioch continues...

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  Tags: carl+gunnarsson, dave+nonis, jake+gardiner, pittsburgh+penguins, ray+shero, toronto+maple+leafs

Morning After Skate

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.

Continue Reading »

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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

Morning After Skate

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.

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, pittsburgh+penguins

Another day, another checking to the head penalty

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.

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  Tags: pittsburgh+penguins, robert+bortuzzo, toronto+maple+leafs

The Morning After Skate

Morning After Skate

Happy Halloween! 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 Pittsburgh Penguins

It would take a little time but things would start to heat up between the two Eastern Conference rivals as Jarome Iginla returned to Pittsburgh with the Bruins after last seasons trade deadline drama.

Milan Lucic would draw the first penalty of the game when he interfered with Tanner Glass and gave the Penguins the first shot at a power play. It would be Chris Kunitz with a backhanded shot past Tuukka Rask to get things started.

As the intensity grew in the second period Sidney Crosby and Torey Krug would be called for coincidental roughing minors as they got into a scrap along the boards.

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: boston+bruins, boston+red+sox, kings+beat+sharks+in+overtime, pittsburgh+penguins, red+wings+snap+losing+skid, semyon+varlamov

Penguins’ Scuderi suffers broken ankle, will require surgical repair

The Pittsburgh Penguins were hoping that defenseman Rob Scuderi wasn't too banged-up after colliding with David Clarkson during Saturday night's Leafs-Penguins game, but they received very bad news on Monday evening:

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  Tags: pittsburgh+penguins, rob+scuderi

The Morning After Skate

Welcome to the morning after! A recap of the games from the night before and quick hit hockey news.

In Case You Missed

It Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins Puck dropped in Boston to start the season for the two Atlantic teams’ first game of the 2013-14 season. Neither team wasted much time getting on the box score; however, to start it was on the penalty side. A hooking call to Bruins Reilly Smith would lead to a shorthanded goal by teammate Chris Kelly.

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: boston+bruins, calgary+flames, ilya+bryzgalov+to+the+echl, los+angeles+kings, minnesota+wild, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, phoenix+coyotes, pittsburgh+penguins, san+jose+sharks, tampa+bay+lightning, tim+thomas+returns, vancouver+canucks, vlasic+skate+to+face, washington+capitals

Pens Schooling of Sabres Shows What it Takes

After getting 9 out of 12 possible points in their last 6 games, and with Ryan Miller finding his groove again, you had to think maybe the Sabres were starting to get their swagger back.  What better time to take on a powerhouse red-hot Stanley Cup contender on an 11-game winning streak to see where you’re at?

As it turned out, the Pittsburgh Penguins came into HSBC Arena last night and gave a lesson on what separates the big boys from the lesser teams like Buffalo.  The Sabres came through with a pretty strong effort against a truly elite team.  They showed some heart and, for the first two periods anyway, went at the Pens pretty hard. 

But it still wasn’t good enough as Pittsburgh never trailed and scored a 5-2 win.  While Sabres big guns Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek were whiffing on their scoring chances, Pens lesser-knowns like Arron Asham and Mike Rupp were cashing in on theirs. 

For all of the positives that you can come up with about Buffalo’s recent streak, last night confirmed a disheartening truth about this group.  The Sabres fall way short when matched up against quality teams.  They’re now 2-12-1 against clubs that are seeded in the top 6 in either conference.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: arron+asham, buffalo+sabres, mark+mancari, mike+rupp, nathan+gerbe, pittsburgh+penguins, sidney+crosby

Former NHLer’s in Europe Part II

This week we will continue to look at former NHL players who are now playing in Europe.
 
Jaromir Jagr
Avangard Omsk

Jagr is clearly not the offensive force that he was in his heyday with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but he has become quite a mentor to younger KHL players, while recording 14 points in 19 games for sixth place Avangard Omsk. However, Jagr’s most impressive feat this year was leading an undermanned Czech squad to World Championship gold against a heavily favoured Russian squad that featured Ovechkin, Malkin, Datsyuk and Gonchar.
 
Miroslav Satan
HC Slovan Bratislava

Satan is hoping to land another midseason NHL contract as he did with the Boston Bruins last year. In the meantime, Satan registered eight points during a three game contract with Slovan Bratislava of the Slovak league. Satan can still find the back of the net and may yet have another crack at the NHL.
 

Continue Reading »

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alexander+ovechkin, alexei+yashin, boston+bruins, cristobal+huet, detroit+red+wings, evgeni+malkin, fred+braithwaite, j.s.+aubin, jaromir+jagr, manny+legace, marc+lamothe, mike+modano, miroslav+satan, pavel+datsyuk, pittsburgh+penguins, robert+esche, sergei+gonchar, slava+kozlov

Major NHL Awards Elude Crosby

From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi:

The youngest captain of a Stanley Cup champion apparently needs to win over NHL writers and players, but not members of his organization.

Penguins center Sidney Crosby finished third in voting for the Hart Trophy (MVP) to Vancouver Canucks center and NHL scoring leader Henrik Sedin, who also bested Crosby for a spot on the NHL’s first All-Star team.

The Hart and All-Star teams are voted on by select members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Continue Reading:

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  Tags: nhl-hockey, pittsburgh+penguins

Crosby named top athlete under 25 by Sporting News

From the Penguins:

The Penguins’ Sidney Crosby has been named the top athlete under the age of 25 by Sporting News magazine.

“25 Under 25: SN’s List of Best Young Athletes” appears in the June 21 edition of the magazine.

The Sporting News panel considered 100 accomplished young athletes from seven different sports before trimming the list to 50 and then the final 25.

Athletes were judged on major stats; championships to which they’d made major contributions; buzz factor; and age.

 

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: nhl-hockey, pittsburgh+penguins

Crosby Drops the Gloves

Here’s the footage of Sidney Crosby’s fight with Andrew Ference tonight. It’s a Gordie Howe Hat Trick for the illustrious Penguin. From HockeyFights.com:

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andrew+ference, fighting, pittsburgh+penguins, sidney+crosby

Secondary Sid

From Empty Netters at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

According to James Mirtle, Crosby isn’t even anywhere near the league leaders in secondary assists.

So while there are plenty valid complaints of Crosby’s game (he tends to go down a little too easily sometimes in order to draw penalties in our book), ripping him for loading up on secondary assists in order to bulk up his points totals is stupid and inaccurate.

more, including a graphic breakdown showing Sid’s primary and secondary assists this season

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  Tags: pittsburgh+penguins, sidney+crosby

Mark Recchi Has Something to Prove

From TSN,

Recchi, claimed off re-entry waivers by the Thrashers on Saturday, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he believes Penguins coach Michel Therrien was too quick to remove him from the top line and No. 1 power-play unit.

“They’ll see,” Recchi told the paper. “I didn’t get 68 points for no reason last year. In the first seven or eight games [this season], I had a point a game until the coach decided to move me down two or three lines for whatever reason. I still haven’t figured it out.”

more

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, mark+recchi, michel+therrien, pittsburgh+penguins

Crosby Named Canada’s “Outstanding Athlete”

From the CP via TSN,

Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby is the winner of the Lou Marsh Award.

The honour, decided by a panel of sports editors and broadcasters, is given annually to Canada’s outstanding athlete by the Toronto Star.  Other finalists in a close vote were Steve Nash, Erik Guay, Adam van Koeverden and Steve Molitor.

The Lou Marsh Award is named after a former Toronto Star sports editor.

continued…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL Media, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: lou+marsh+award, pittsburgh+penguins, sidney+crosby

Sid Is Everywhere

from the CP via TSN,

Log on to the Facebook social networking website and there are 500-plus newsgroups dedicated to the 20-year-old from Cole Harbour, N.S.

One is dedicated to counting down the days until Crosby leaves Pittsburgh as a free agent to join the team of his childhood love, the Montreal Canadiens.

There’s an “I Hate Sidney Crosby” group, complete with his head pasted on a pink flower print dress. The antidote is the “I Hate Crosby Haters” group.

more

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  Tags: hockey+fans, pittsburgh+penguins, sidney+crosby

Crosby Heads West

from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,

Crosby will likely be climbing the walls by the time his trip to Western Canada concludes. His passion runs high for playing games in Canada, but his time away from the rink is spent keeping a low profile. In other words, Crosby won’t be found looking for a postgame pint on Electric Avenue in Calgary.

“Probably a little busier, more interviews,” the reigning NHL MVP said when asked about the difference between playing in Canada and the United States.

more

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  Tags: media, pittsburgh+penguins, sidney+crosby

Suggestions For Therrien

from Mike Madden at the Beaver County Times,

Could Michel Therrien do a better job as Penguins coach?

Let me count the ways:

Marc-Andre Fleury should start every game unless he physically needs a rest….

Sidney Crosby should play the entire two minutes of every power play…

Use Crosby and Malkin to kill penalties, especially when the Penguins have committed several infractions in a short span….

more

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  Tags: michel+therrien, pittsburgh+penguins

Pens Just Need To Make Plays

from Darren Eliot at Sports Illustrated,

I asked Crosby about the team’s rather uneven start, postulating that maybe the young core group overlooked how well teams would prepare for them after the Penguins’ successful 2006-07 campaign. He replied, “I don’t think that’s it. We went through it last year when there was a lot of attention paid to us. We are a young group and we’re gaining experience all the time. We’ve been playing good hockey lately and hopefully we can start getting some results.”

They have been losing a lot of close games, which is disconcerting in that they excelled at winning them during the second half of last season. “The difference is in making plays” Crosby offered. “Whether it is a pass, a hit, blocked shot or save, we need to make plays at the right time. We’re starting to do that more consistently.”

more

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  Tags: pittsburgh+penguins, sidney+crosby

Pens Need To Make A Move

from Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

There is no aspect of the Penguins’ performance to date with which management should be particularly pleased.

Consequently, aside from the nucleus of players who are either elite young talents or have the potential to be there should be no untouchables when Shero is discussing potential trades.

That doesn’t mean a roster-wide purge is in order but sticking with the status quo will become more of a high-risk strategy with every point the Penguins surrender if they don’t start to string together some victories.

more

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  Tags: pittsburgh+penguins

Crosby Always Working

from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

At 9:03 yesterday morning, with the players’ parking area at Mellon Arena nearly empty and his teammates possibly still home in bed, Sidney Crosby walked into the West Igloo Lounge and greeted about a dozen people.

He was sized up by two clothes stylists and shown some black duds hung on a rack and placed on tables.

This was no indulgent personal shopping spree for the popular Penguins captain. Crosby arrived for work early to devote more than an hour to ESPN The Magazine, which is doing photo shoots with several top-caliber athletes across the country in advance—well in advance—of its 10th anniversary issue in March.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: pittsburgh+penguins, sidney+crosby

Gonchar Plays Like an All Star, but…

From Rob Rossi at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

Gonchar is not listed on its All-Star ballot.  According to a league spokesperson, the hockey operations department has the final decision on the All-Star ballot, which was finalized at the end of October and based on performance from previous seasons.

Gonchar ranked second, eighth, first and second (tied) in scoring by defensemen after each of the past four seasons.

“And I would still definitely say he is underrated,” defenseman Ryan Whitney said. “But players know how good he is, and that is what is important to him.”

Gonchar is the only current defenseman to record at least 50 points in each of the past seven seasons.  He has scored more goals (104) than any defenseman dating to 2000, and his 385 points during that span are second to only Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom, who has 391.

continued…

Rossi also notes that Gonchar currently has 19 points through 20 games this season—tied for first among all NHL defensemen.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: all+star+game, pittsburgh+penguins, sergei+gonchar

Out With The Old

from Mark Madden at the Beaver County Times,

But the feelings of veterans shouldn’t matter when a team is based on youth. Unless the Penguins arrive a bit early, Recchi, Roberts and Sydor will almost certainly not be around when the team wins its next Stanley Cup. So who cares how they feel? Respect them. But don’t placate them. Don’t treat them with kid gloves when they play badly.

If anybody feels Roberts is still worth anything, Shero should trade him. Try calling north of the border, Ray. If his misguided raging-bull style on the ice is any indication, Roberts is not handling his decline well.

Recchi and Sydor can still help in lesser roles. Just make sure they have lesser roles.

more

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  Tags: darryl+sydor, gary+roberts, mark+recchi, pittsburgh+penguins, ray+shero

Penguins Need Help - Not Just In Goal

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

The most fascinating aspect of the Penguins’ struggle is that it provides us the first opportunity to gauge what kind of administrator general manager Ray Shero will be. Because this is his first GM job, we have no history to review.

But my hunch is Shero will be able to walk the fine line between aggressiveness and panic. I believe he will continue to look for scoring wingers, and I believe he will continue to be patient with Fleury. I believe he will be more patient with Fleury than his coach seems to be. I think if Shero believed Fleury needed an older goalie playing beside him, he would have acquired one last summer.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marc-andre+fleury, pittsburgh+penguins, ray+shero

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