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The Confluence

Report:  Letang Re-Signs with Penguins - 8 years, $58 million

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Torn on Tanger

One schmuck's opinion:  Kris Letang is a very good NHL defenseman.  Kris Letang is an outstanding offensive NHL defenseman.

But if Letang were reading this column, I'd have to say this right away:  Those media reports stating Penguins' management feel Paul Martin, and not you, was the best Pens' defenseman this season?

They're right, bro.

It appears we're getting closer and closer to the culmination of either a re-signing with Pittsburgh, or what's becoming an annual ritual for GM Ray Shero, that being a draft day trade.

And honestly, I'm torn about it.

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Penguins, Kunitz Agree to Three Year Extension

Per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Dave Molinari:

 

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Penguins Acquire Harry Zolnierczyk from Anaheim for Alex Grant

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Starkey:  Lemieux, Burkle Endorse Status Quo

From Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  Starkey lists the majority of bullets for those not agreeing with a contract extension for Penguins Head Coach Dan Bylsma.

Instead, they essentially told the world — via Shero — that they are accepting of the hideous playoff implosions that have marked the past four springs.

The Montreal meltdown.  The Tampa Bay tank job.  The Philly flop.  The Boston Tee Party (See local country club).

This move evokes the Steelers' coach-centric model of management. Which might not be a bad thing. It's a vote for stability. And who knows? The Steelers were proven correct when they twice extended Bill Cowher after disappointing seasons. The Penguins might be vindicated, too. It's just so hard to envision a largely unchanged cast changing the script next spring.

I mean, really, Marc-Andre Fleury's coming back, as Shero stated in the strongest possible words? The Bylsma-Fleury marriage works? Management's confidence in a shattered goaltender has not waned?

Nope. Nothing to see here.

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Penguins, Malkin Agree to 8 year, $76 Million Contract Extension

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Bruins/Penguins Game 4:  Stunned

Congratulations to the Bruins for their dominating performance.  I think I can speak for most Pens fans when I say that even the morning after I sit here in a bit of a daze.  Not in that the Penguins lost, the Bruins are a quality opponent and it was common knowledge that this was going to be a tough series.

But the common term I've read this morning that really hits the nail on the head is "stunned".

Please allow me to expound:

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Bruins/Penguins Game 3:  Time to Start Looking Forward

Sigh.

What a frickin' hockey game.  Just outstanding.

Not going to waste my time talking about the Jagr no-call on Malkin.  There were so many no-calls in overtime it wasn't going to get called.  Maybe if Malkin was in the offensive zone, who knows.

But now that the Penguins are down 3-0, while now that's not the automatic death sentence it once was, I'm not confident at all the Pens can pull it off, so screw it.

This soon-to-be fourth straight playoff collapse now sets up a potentially massive upheaval on the Penguins roster and possibly within the Pens coaching staff as well.

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Bruins/Penguins Game 2:  Bylsma May Now Be Coaching for his Job

Barf.

Let's be clear:  Dan Bylsma does not tend goal.  Dan Bylsma does not try to score goals.  Dan Bylsma does not provide defense in front of his goalie.

But as we all know, that doesn't amount to a hill of beans in the world of professional sports.

Because as the Penguins inch closer to their fourth straight playoff collapse after winning the Stanley Cup in 2009, Penguins management may very well now be wondering if this coaching staff is built to lead this incredibly stacked team to a championship level once again.

Is a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals sufficient?  I wouldn't think so.  And it's for that reason that Bylsma's seat should start feeling mighty warm this morning.

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Bruins/Penguins Game 1:  Not a Shocking Result

Pretty damn entertaining hockey game, I must say.

The Penguins 3-0 loss to the Bruins in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals wasn't due to their opponent outhustling and/or outworking them.

It was just a good old-fashioned, hard-fought game that saw the Bruins capitalize on their chances, while the Penguins simply could not do the same.

Sure, you can nit-pick numerous individual scenarios that may have contributed to the overall tone of the game, but like I said, for the most part, it was merely the Bruins taking advantage of what was presented to them.  Good road win for the Bruins, give them credit.

Some observations:

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About The Confluence

Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.

Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.

I am blogger- credentialed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  My posts are regularly linked by hockey websites such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Yahoo!‘s Puck Daddy, and I’ve done numerous guest blogger spots on such websites asthe New YorkTimes.  I am a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.

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