Kukla's Korner

The Confluence

Category: Opinion

Away From the Action for a While

I’m gonna be traveling to San Diego on business for the rest of the week, so barring anything major will probably not be posting much at all.

Paul will post any major Penguins news in my absence.

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The Penguins are 0-2:  I Guess the Season’s Over

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Or so it seems based on many a fan’s overreaction.  I’ve read a few of these types of articles today, so what the hell, I’m a team player.

Home sweet home after attending the Habs/Pens game last night.  Dead tired, but well worth it.  Those quick round-trips to Pittsburgh aren’t getting any easier, I’ll tell ya that.

Just a short blurb to opine on my thoughts about the Pens’ goose egg in the “W” column after two games.

 

 

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Pens Notes:  Drop the Puck Already

While the Penguins’ final roster has not yet been established, everything is now focused towards the much-hyped season opener against the rival Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night in the first regular season game at the brand spanking new Consol Energy Center.

It appears that, with the exception of Jordan Staal, the Penguins will have a full squad available.  Sidney Crosby and Brooks Orpik both returned to practice today after taking the weekend preseason games off.  The only question mark at this point appears to be new Penguin Arron Asham, who suffered a upper body injury in Chicago.  It’s unknown at this time whether Asham will be available to go versus his former teammates on Thursday.

Other notes:

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Penguins’ Final Cuts may be Hardest in Recent Years

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Pic courtesy of Rick Free

The Penguins are down to 28 healthy bodies remaining in their training camp, comprised of 16 forwards, 10 defensemen and 2 goaltenders.  Not including Jordan Staal (foot) and Casey Pierro-Zabotel (finger).  Staal, who spoke with the media today but didn’t really give any sort of updated timeline, will miss at least the first month of the season.  Barring something highly unusual, CPZ will be reassigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton soon.

With the available roster spots now down to a precious few, let’s take a look at what parameters need to be taken into account before GMRS and HCDB make their final cuts;

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Pens Notes:  Penguins Sweep Home-and-Home Series with Columbus

The Penguins raised their preseason record to 3-0 with a fight-filled 3-1 win over the Blue Jackets in the second of a home-and-home series at the Consol Energy Center.  The Penguins gave all 18,000 tickets away to students and youth hockey organizations.

- Yes, it’s only preseason, and yes, we’re only one week into it, but HCDB and GMRS have got some kind of difficult job in front of them.  With 13 veteran forwards already signed to one-way contracts, it would appear on the surface that Pens management would simply retain all of the vets and send the youngsters on their way, whether that be to Wilkes-Barre or back to Juniors.  But after three preseason games, a few players are making a statement that they must be included in any discussion for that final roster.  Forwards like Eric Tangradi, Dustin Jeffrey, Mark Letestu and Brett Sterling are having great camps so far.  Whether it will translate into roster spots is still a bit premature, but so far, so good with these guys.

- Speaking of those having a great camp, last night’s telecast was the first time I’ve had a chance to get a good look at Penguins’ 2009 #1 draft pick, defenseman Simon Despres.  Wow.  Fluid skater, quick hard wrister, good puckhandling skills.  This 19-year old kid went coast-to-coast a la Paul Coffey late in the game.  Chances are that Despres will eventually get reassigned back to St. John of the QMJHL, possibly after a 10-game NHL “tryout”, similar to the Pens did with Kris Letang.  But with their #6 defenseman spot not locked down, Despres is showing that he definitely belongs.  Will he remain with the Penguins, like Jordan Staal did?

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Pens Notes:  So Far, So Good

Couldn’t ask for a better script to open the Consol Energy Center with the expected sellout crowd and the Red Wings in town.

A few bullets after last night’s win:

- It’s safe to say that Jesse Boulerice and Aaron Downey aren’t on each other’s Christmas card list.  Downey clocked out Boulerice with a one-punch knockout back in 2003, but by the looks of it, Boulerice exacted some revenge last night with a one-sided decision.

- One of the things I was eager to read was how loud the new barn was going to be as opposed to the Igloo.  Talking with Pens’ Director of Media Technology Chris Devivo during the arena’s construction, there were painstaking details to ensure the acoustics were top-notch, not only for hockey but also for concerts and other events.  Early indications after a handful of concerts and the initial hockey game is that this is going to be one rocking building.  I’ll be up there Thanksgiving weekend vs. Calgary to hear it for myself.

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Join the Cause to Memorialize Mellon Arena

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A idea from a Penguins fan for memorializing the Civic/Mellon Arena has turned into an Internet groundswell.  The idea is to etch the outline of the Igloo into a large pane of glass at the new Consol Energy Center facing it.

The boys at Pensblog have ran with the idea.  They’ve gotten Pittsburgh radio host Mark Madden to mention the idea on his show.  Other Penguins blogs have mentioned it.  And now, there has been a Facebook group created to support it.

The Igloo is currently scheduled for demolition in February.  What a better way to remember the Igloo, eh?

 

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Penguins Roundtable Part IV:  The Outlook

We’ve looked at the defense, the forwards and the goalie.  For our final part of the Penguins Roundtable we’ll take a stab at the Penguins chances towards another Cup run.

Once again, the participants:
Rick Moldovanyi (RM) - The Pensblog
Brian Metzer (BM) - From The Point
Mike Colligan (MC) - The Hockey Writers
Sean Leahy (SL) - Yahoo! Puck Daddy
Jimmy Rixner (JR) - SB Nation Pittsburgh
Tony Ferrante (TF) - The Confluence at Kukla’s Korner

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Penguins Roundtable Part III: The Goalie

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury lets in a goal in the first period by Montreal Canadiens right wing Brian Gionta during Game 7 of their NHL Eastern Conference semi-final hockey series in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania May 12, 2010. REUTERS/David DeNoma (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)

Now that we’ve looked at the defense and the forwards, Part III of our Penguins Roundtable will discuss the guy between the pipes, Marc-Andre Fleury.

Once again, the participants:
Rick Moldovanyi (RM) - The Pensblog
Jesse Marshall (JM) - Faceoff Factor
Brian Metzer (BM) - From The Point
Mike Colligan (MC) - The Hockey Writers
Sean Leahy (SL) - Yahoo! Puck Daddy
Jimmy Rixner (JR) - SB Nation Pittsburgh
Tony Ferrante (TF) - The Confluence at Kukla’s Korner

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Penguins’ Signing of Comrie makes Training Camp Verrry Interesting

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You youngins just Google “Arte Johnson” for translation.

It’s funny, it was only a couple of days ago when I posted Part II of our Penguins Roundtable discussing the forwards.  We probably had twenty different line combinations between the seven of us.

But that was before today’s signing of veteran forward Mike Comrie, and there’s already talk that not only will he skate as a top-six forward, but that he may very well be a winger on Sidney Crosby’s first line.  That throws the rest of the forward lines into quite a tizzy, and if they’re paying attention, should have some veteran forwards quite nervous.

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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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