Too soon to make too much out of this. Could very well be simply that Kris Letang's "lower body" (read: groin) injury is worse than originally anticipated. Matt Niskanen has been skating the past couple of days, but may not be ready to return to the lineup soon.
From the Toronto Globe and Mail's Roy MacGregor:
Crosby now firmly believes that player safety is hockey’s major issue, and that responsibility runs all the way from Timbits hockey to the NHL. While the league has made some movement on the dreaded and dangerous head shots, there are still far too many concussions in the game. He knows more change will have to come.
“I think it starts when you’re younger,” Crosby says. “That’s definitely where you learn all your habits and all the things that you’re going to grow up and do. But that being said, I think the NHL is obviously what everyone watches, so there’s got to be a balancing act there.”
The NHL, he also believes, has to allow its players to go the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. He wants, once again, to represent his country, but the league has yet to confirm that NHLers will be released.
“It’s coming fast,” he says. “I’ve only played I think maybe 80 or 90 games since the last Olympics, so it’s coming up pretty quickly. … I think everyone who has experienced that wants to be a part of it.”
Hindsight is 20/20, as they say.
The body of work of a General Manager in any professional sport is never static. There will always be an immediate reaction to the moves a GM makes, whether that be a draft pick, trade or free agent signing. But to be fair, you have to continually look back at moves made in previous years to get a complete snapshot of the GM's performance.
No GM is perfect. There will always be moves that will considered a failure, it's simply inevitable. The trick is to make those failed moves as infrequent as possible. And Penguins' GM Ray Shero, or GMRS as we like to call him, doesn't make many of them, and the Penguins' ascension back to the top of the NHL is a testament to his accomplishments.
From TheFourthPeriod.com (Stick-tap to @johncwit for the heads-up):
The Pittsburgh Penguins, sitting first in the Atlantic Division, could be looking to acquire another winger to play alongside Evgeni Malkin.
It's believed the Penguins are once again taking a look at Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nikolai Kulemin.
Malkin, who currently leads the Penguins in assists with 10, played alongside Kulemin during the lockout in the KHL.
Last season, the Penguins inquired about Kulemin's availability, but a deal was never finalized and then-GM Brian Burke reportedly turned down a first-round pick in exchange for him.
From the Ducks:
ANAHEIM DUCKS ACQUIRE BEN LOVEJOY FROM PITTSBURGH IN EXCHANGE FOR 2014 DRAFT PICK
ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Anaheim Ducks announced today that the National Hockey League (NHL) club has acquired defenseman Ben Lovejoy from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a fifth-round selection in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
Lovejoy, 28 (2/20/84), appeared in three games for Pittsburgh this season, going scoreless while averaging 13:36 time-on-ice (TOI). The 6-2, 215-pound defenseman has appeared in five NHL seasons with the Penguins, earning 4-21=25 points with a +20 rating and 63 PIM in 98 career games. He set numerous career highs in 2010-11, including goals (3), assists (14), points (17), plus/minus (+11) and games played (47). Lovejoy has also played in nine career Stanley Cup Playoff games with Pittsburgh, scoring 0-2=2 points with four PIM.
From Billy Nauman of The Hockey Writers:
Marc-Andre Fleury is a scapegoat for a reason. He is not an elite goaltender. He never has been and he never will be. He collapsed down the stretch last year, failed spectacularly in the playoffs, and his save percentage this year is an abysmal 0.897 – but that’s not why I’m writing this article.
I’m writing this because Marc-Andre Fleury has been a disappointment throughout his entire career. His recent performance is not an aberration, and now that the Pittsburgh Penguins have Tomas Vokoun, a more-than-capable replacement, it’s time to make a switch.
From The Pensblog:
It is no secret that "players and people who we think are Penguins" are North Americans. Especially in the Dan Bylsma era, the Pens' mentality has shifted. Their top priority has been to stock the organization with aggressive skaters who aren't afraid to forecheck, throw a little hit, get separation, and get a cycle going. It's Bylsma's system, the Pens have built the entire organization around it, and Europeans simply don't fit the bill. Having said that, Shero and Co. did recently bring Tommy Westlund aboard, an amateur scout keeping an eye on Europe.
Upon digesting all of that information, we said wait a minute. We have the Internet. We have free time. We should do some analysis on the Pens' rosters throughout the years. We ended up doing an NHL-wide data set, using specific criteria, to see if there are any noticeable trends in the NHL when it comes to the European/North American makeup of rosters.
What a difference five days make.
After the Penguins got absolutely embarrased by the Islanders at home this past Tuesday night, fans were ready to jump off any of the 446 bridges in Pittsburgh.
That seems like months ago now, after three decisive victories against the Rangers, Devils and Capitals have vaulted the Penguins into the Atlantic Division lead.
Chris Kunitz led the charge today with his 3rd career hat trick, and should eventually be rewarded with a fourth goal, in the Pens' dominating 6-3 win over the Caps at the Phone Booth in D.C.
UPDATE: The scoring has indeed been changed, and Kunitz has been awarded his fourth goal of the game.
From the Carolina Hurricanes:
RALEIGH, NC – Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the Pittsburgh Penguins have claimed forward Zach Boychuk on waivers.
Boychuk, 23, appeared in Carolina’s season opener against the Florida Panthers and was a healthy extra for four games. The Airdrie, Alb., native has 32 points (16g, 16a) in 37 games for Charlotte this season, ranking first among Checkers in goals and points. Drafted by the Hurricanes in the first round (14th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Boychuk has scored seven goals and earned 11 assists (18 points) in 73 career NHL games with the Hurricanes.
UPDATE: Penguins statement after the bump.
It's not often when the team that is supposedly the Stanley Cup contender is getting booed at home loudly and with a lot of frequency in only the second home game of the season.
But that's exactly what happened at the Consol Mausoleum last night, as the "inferior" New York Islanders skated circles around the lackadaisical Penguins, 4-1.
That makes 3 losses out of 4 for the Pens, with only a 2-1 shootout win in Ottawa this past Sunday the exception.
Whereas the Penguins' performance in the home opener last week vs. Toronto could be attributed to being "flat", although I'm incredulous how you can come out flat in your home opener, I don't see how that term can be used any longer.
It's beyond flat now, it's a frickin' mess.
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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