Sunday, February 28, 2010

Crosby Clinches Gold Medal For Canada

-Sidney Crosby has done it again. Crosby scored the game winning goal in overtime to win the gold medal for Team Canada against Team USA. The final score was 3-2. With under 25 seconds left in the third period, Zach Parise tied the game at 2, which eventually sent the game into overtime. Jonathan Toews and Corey Perry scored the goals in regulation for Canada. Parise and Ryan Kesler scored for USA. Ryan Miller stopped 36 of 39 shots while Roberto Luongo stopped 34 of 36. This game was fun to watch, just as the whole tournament was. Congratulations to all of the Olympians. It was fun covering the Olympics, but I am very excited to start talking about the NHL and the Penguins. The trade deadline is on Wednesday! Keep checking the blog for updates!

Trade Deadline Buzz 
-According to TIOPS, the Penguins have been still discussing a deal for Nashville Predators D Dan Hamhuis. Alex Goligoski apparently is not a part of the deal being discussed. The deal that is being rumored is either Ruslan Fedotenko and a 2nd Round pick for Hamhuis or Jay McKee along with something else for Hamhuis. This is just a rumor but Hamhuis is a guy the Penguins could really use on their blueline. Keep in mind that at any time, the details of the deal can be changed. The Penguins also still have their eye on Columbus Blue Jackets winger Raffi Torres.

-An update on Sergei Gonchar: According to TIOPS, a response may be heard from his camp on the offer the Penguins proposed to him for a new deal. The offer is rumored to be three years for about $13 million which would break down to about $4.3 million per year. Let's wait and see if Ray Shero can get this one done.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

USA vs Canada For Gold

-Team USA crushed Finland 6-1 today to send them to the Gold Medal game. All six goals were scored in the first period where Finland goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff pulled himself from the game. Ryan Malone started the scoring after a terrible mistake by Kiprusoff. Patrick Kane scored two goals in the game while Zach Parise, Erik Johnson, and Paul Stastny scored one goal each. Tim Thomas got some time in goal in the third period for USA. Team USA remains undefeated in regulation. Canada is probably looking at this team much different than last time they faced them.

-Team Canada defeated Slovakia 3-2 to move on to the championship against Team USA. The goals were scored by Patrick Marleau, Brenden Morrow, and Ryan Getzlaf. Roberto Luongo stopped 19 of 21 shots. Sidney Crosby did not have any points. The final will be on Sunday at 3:15 PM and will be televised on NBC. Canada will look to get revenge on Team USA and win it all in their home country. It will be a great game to watch.

-Just some Penguin quick hits: Ruslan Fedotenko was not at practice because of a "lower body injury." Maybe he is faking it so he will stay with the Penguins. His name is still coming up in trade rumors and he could be moved by the deadline. Also, some people are speculating C Steve Ott from the Dallas Stars may be a guy the Penguins will look at. I'm not sure about that, but we will see.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Canada Dominates Russia

-Team Canada defeated Russia 7-3 to move on to the next round of the Olympic tournament. Sidney Crosby did not have any points while Evgeni Malkin had one assist. Sergei Gonchar scored Russia's last goal of the 2010 Olympics. Many thought this game would be very competitive, but Canada dominated from the drop of the puck. Canada will play Slovakia at 9:30 tomorrow night.

-Team USA defeated Switzerland 2-0 to advance to the next round. Zach Parise scored both goals in a hard fought game. USA has won every game in regulation and will face Finland at 3:00 PM tomorrow. Many are predicting USA will face Canada in the Gold Medal game. However, Slovakia and Finland cannot be overelooked.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Malkin VS Crosby

-After an 8-2 win over Germany, Canada will play Russia tomorrow night at 7:30 PM. Sidney Crosby scored a goal in the victory. This game should be one of the best games of the whole tournament, if not the best. Sergei Gonchar and Evgeni Malkin will take on Sidney Crosby for the first and probably last time, so you don't want to miss it! Marc-Andre Fleury will likely sit out again.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Perfect Preliminary

 -Team USA stunned the world by defeating Canada 5-3 to win Group A with a perfect nine points. Brian Rafalski scored two goals and had one assist in the win. The captain of this team certainly has done his part with a total of four goals in three games. Keep in mind that Rafalski has four goals with Detroit in 57 games this season. The other goals for USA were scored by Chris Drury, Jamie Langenbrunner, and Ryan Kesler. Ryan Miller was spectacular in goal stopping 42 of 45 shots. Sidney Crosby scored Canada's third goal. Canada will face Germany on Tuesday for a spot in the quarterfinals.
-Evgeni Malkin led Russia to a 4-2 win over the Czech Republic with two goals and an assist. Alex Ovechkin assisted on two goals and hit Jaromir Jagr really hard. With today's victory, Russia clinched the Group B title and will advance to the quarterfinals.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Crosby Scores Only Goal in Shootout to Defeat Switzerland

-Sidney Crosby scored the only goal in a shootout on his second attempt to lead Canada over Switzerland 3-2. Switzerland played a very physical game while goaltender Jonas Hiller played spectacular saving 45 of 47 shots. Goals in regulation were scored by San Jose Shark players Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau. Canada earns two points because they won in a shootout. Canadians had to be a little scared during that third period, but their team pulled through luckily.

-Team USA defeated Norway 6-1 in regulation. Ryan Malone scored another goal to make it his second in two games. Brian Rafalski scored two goals while Phil Kessel, Chris Drury, and Patrick Kane each scored one goal. Ryan Miller once again was not tested very much stopping 10 of 11 shots. USA now leads the Group A Division with 6 points.

-Team Slovakia upset Team Russia in a shootout by a score of 2-1. Evgeni Malkin had seven shots on goal, but was left off the scoresheet. Former Penguin Alexei Morozov scored the only goal in regulation for Russia. Another former Penguin, Marian Hossa scored the goal for Slovakia. In the shootout, Jozef Stumpel scored to make it 1-0 then Alex Ovechkin tied it. Pavol Demitra won the game with a goal to give them two points while Russia gets one.Malkin had one shot in the shootout, but failed to score.

-Here is an interesting tidbit. My girlfriend, who is in Puerto Rico on vacation, ran into Colby Armstrong down there and asked him if he would come back to Pittsburgh. Armstrong replied "I'd love to." We all figured Armstrong would welcome a return to the Penguins, but it is nice to confirm it. He is rumored to be the next Thrasher to be traded. Although he can't control where he is traded, he is a free agent after the season and we would expect him to give the Penguins a call.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Gonchar's Agent and Shero to Meet Tomorrow?

-According to TIOPS, Sergei Gonchar's agent J.P. Barry is scheduled to meet with Penguins GM Ray Shero tomorrow in Vancouver. They will discuss a new contract for the veteran defenseman because he is scheduled to be a UFA after the season. Gonchar would likely have to take some discount for the Penguins to have more cap room for Kris Letang, who will become an RFA this summer. It is not known what Gonchar's intentions are, but he will definitely be a Penguin until at least the end of this season.

-To recap some Olympic action today, Finland defeated Belarus 5-1. Jarkko Ruutu scored a goal in the game. Congrats to Jarkko. At midnight, Jaromir Jagr and the Czech Republic will take on Slovakia.

Penguin Olympians All Winners After Opening Game

-Brooks Orpik and Team USA defeated Switzerland 3-1. Orpik had a really nice hit and was a +1 in the game. Goals were scored by Bobby Ryan, David Backes, and former Penguin Ryan Malone. Malone became the first hockey player from Western Pennsylvania to score a goal in the Olympics. Congrats to him and Team USA.

-Sidney Crosby had three assists in Canada's 8-0 win over Norway. He was a +2 and had three shots on goal. Crosby played with Jarome Iginla, who had a hat trick in the game, along with Rick Nash. Dany Heatley scored two goals, while Mike Richards, Corey Perry, and Ryan Getzlaf all had one goal. Marc-Andre Fleury did not dress.

-Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist in Russia's 8-2 win over Lativa. Sergei Gonchar has two shots on goal. Alex Ovechkin scored two goals while Ilya Kovalchuk, Alex Radulov, and former Penguin Alexei Morozov each had one goal.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Olympic Hockey Starts Today

 -Brooks Orpik and Team USA will face Switzerland today at 3 PM. Orpik is expected to play with Brian Rafalski, of the Detroit Red Wings. The game can be seen on the USA Network. He is expected to play a lot of minutes because of some injuries to Paul Martin and Mike Komisarek. The Americans should take this game but they cannot overlook Switzerland. Jonas Hiller, of the Anaheim Ducks will be in goal for Switzerland. Ryan Miller, of the Buffalo Sabres will start for USA.

-Sidney Crosby and Team Canada will face Norway today at 7:30 PM. Crosby is expected to play with Rick Nash, of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Patrice Bergeron, of the Boston Bruins. The game can be seen on CNBC. Canada should win this game easily because Norway does not have any NHL players on their team and have not participated in Olympic hockey since 1994.

-Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar along with Team Russia will play Lativa at midnight. Malkin will play with Ilya Kovalchuk, of the New  Jersey Devils and Maxim Afinogenov, of the Atlanta Thrashers. The  game can be seen on CNBC. Russia will win this one easily.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

NHL Roster Freeze (Updates Will Be Posted at Top of This Entry)

 3:47 PM- Minnesota acquired D Cam Barker from Chicago for D Kim Johnsson and D Nick Leddy.
 Rangers acquired LW Jody Shelley from San Jose for a draft pick.

 3:11 PM- Pittsburgh did not make a move today.

2:06 PM- Rumors are starting to heat up.. Deadline is at 3 so I expect to post some more trades. (Only if they are confirmed)

 12:10 PM- Jonathan Cheecho is on waivers

10:45 AM- Bob McKenzie reports the Ottawa Senators have acquired Matt Cullen from Carolina for Alexandre Picard and a 2nd round pick.

9:09 AM- The Penguins have been active in trade talks for the last few days. They will move a 2nd or 3rd round pick in a deal but not a 1st. Prospects they won't trade are Eric Tangradi,Simon Despres,Luca Caputi, and Robert Bortuzzo.

12:22 AM- John Shannon has reported that Ray Whitney will not be traded until after the Olympic break.

 12:07 AM- The Florida Panthers are now looking to deal some players as they are in "sell" mode. No player is an untouchable. Expect Pittsburgh to ask about the asking price of some of the Panthers young forwards.

11:11 PM- Ray Whitney may be traded to an Eastern Conference team such as Pittsburgh,Montreal,Washington,Buffalo, or Boston.

Afinogenov Could Be An Option For Pens

-According to a source, the Penguins had scouts in attendance last night for the Colorado Avalanche and Atlanta Thrashers game. Speculation is growing that RW Maxim Afinogenov may be a player Pittsburgh is watching. He almost seems like a perfect fit for the Penguins. Afinogenov, 30, has eighteen goals and twenty-seven assists so far this season with Atlanta. Most known for his lightning speed, he signed with Atlanta for only $800,000 for one year which would be fine for Pittsburgh to take. In addition, he is a UFA after this season and Atlanta seems to be trading most of their players, so it is definitely a possibility.

- On the other hand, multiple sources have been discussing if the Penguins are looking at Alexei Ponikarovsky from Toronto for the last couple weeks. A source had also mentioned that the Penguins and Maple Leafs were scouting each other, so there could be something up on that front as well. The NHL Olympic roster freeze is at 3 PM tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Letang Likely Staying Put

-The Pittsburgh Penguins will likely not trade D Kris Letang at the upcoming trade deadline. Letang has gotten a lot of interest from many teams already, but opposing GM's are saying that it looks as if the Penguins will hold onto him. Letang, an RFA this summer is negotiating with Pittsburgh on a new contract. Segei Gonchar is also negotiating with Pittsburgh because he is scheduled to be a UFA this summer. It is highly unlikely the Penguins can keep both of them next season unless someone takes a discount.

-The Atlanta Thrashers continued trading pieces from their team by shipping goalie Kari Lehtonen to the Dallas Stars for a fourth round pick and D Ivan Vishnevskiy. Speculation has already begun saying that Dallas may be looking for a puck moving defenseman such as Letang or Alex Goligoski. The Penguins would need one of Dallas' young guns in order for them to even consider a trade for one of their young defensemen. Colby Armstrong is rumored to be the next Thrasher on his way out.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hamhuis on Penguins Radar

-According to a source, the Penguins are targeting D Dan Hamhuis from the Nashville Predators as a possible trade acquisition. Pittsburgh seems to have made him their top target for the upcoming trade deadline. Hamhuis, a 27 year old defenseman, has four goals and ten assists this season. With some defenseman prospects in Nashville's system coming up soon, Hamhuis could be expendable. In addition, he is a free agent after this season. Hamhuis has a cap hit of $2 million.

-With Ray Shero having ties with Nashville, this is a realistic possibility. Pittsburgh would likely need to clear some salary but not too much. It has been mentioned that if the Penguins do not get Hamhuis, the New York Islanders may have a defenseman to trade to Pittsburgh. The name has not been identified yet, but Andy Sutton is one guy Pittsburgh would likely have interest in.
-The rumor that had Ruslan Fedotenko and draft picks going to Edmonton for Ethan Moreau and Gilbert Brule has been labeled as totally false. The rumor didn't make sense in the first place. Brule and Moreau do not fit with the Penguins at this time. Moreau is struggling offensively and Pittsburgh does not need any more leadership after the Stanley Cup experience they got last year. I also think that would be way too much for Moreau and Brule. Keep in mind, all it took to get Bill Guerin was one draft pick that escalated based on Pittsburgh's performance in the playoffs.

Pens Make Bid to Host Next Year's All-Star Game

The Pittsburgh Penguins have submitted a bid to the NHL to host the All-Star Weekend in the inaugural season of the Consol Energy Center. Pens President David Morehouse sounded confident that Pittsburgh made a good bid. Pens fans have so many things to be thankful for what this team has done. A Stanley Cup, a new arena, the chance to watch Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and now maybe an All-Star Game. Phoenix is scheduled to host the game, but with relocation a possible option, the game may go somewhere else. If Phoenix hosts it, Pittsburgh will try to go for the 2013 game. -The trade talk around the Penguins has been quiet lately. I still expect a trade soon, probably involving Ruslan Fedotenko.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Fedotenko Going to Edmonton?

According to a source, the Penguins are discussing a deal with the Edmonton Oilers that would send Ruslan Fedotenko, a 2nd round, and a 3rd round pick to Edmonton for Oilers captain Ethan Moreau and center Gilbert Brule. Brule may be shipped out as a part of another deal for the Penguins if he was acquired. Moreau, has four goals and five assists this season, but shows tremendous leadership qualities. Brule has twelve goals and thirteen assists on the season. Fedotenko has eight goals and fourteen assists this season after mostly playing with Evgeni Malkin. Moreau has a $1.75 million cap hit compared to Fedotenko's $1.8 million hit. The Bruins have been said to have interest in Brule, so this should be fun to watch.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Pens Moving Fedotenko?

According to a source, the Penguins are talking to other teams about Ruslan Fedotenko and an unknown defenseman to clear some cap space. The Minnesota Wild are one team that are very interested in Fedotenko. Fedotenko has a $1.8 million cap hit, which may get in the way of a deal GM Ray Shero may have up his sleeve. I will keep up to date with information as I get it. With my power out at home, I will try my best to update the blog. Be safe everyone!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Pens Call Up Letestu,Wallace

The Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled forwards Mark Letestu and Tim Wallace from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. These moves all but ensure that Max Talbot and Chris Kunitz will not play tomorrow against Montreal. Kunitz was expected to return but something is holding him up. With not many games remaining before the Olympics, the Penguins could be being cautious with Kunitz. They do not want to lose him more than they already have.
- The Penguins are trying to move some players to clear cap space. It is creating major problems for them to even make an offer for a good player. Should be interesting to watch.

Penguins Busy After Kovalchuk Trade

After the big trade that sent Ilya Kovalchuk to the division rival New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh has been working the phones. According to a source, the Penguins are in talks with the Dallas Stars and Columbus Blue Jackets. One player that has been mentioned the Penguins are scouting is LW Raffi Torres from Columbus. Torres, 28, has 16 goals and 10 assists this season thus far. Reports also came out that the Penguins are a good fit for former Penguin Colby Armstrong. Fans would love to see him back in Pittsburgh as he probably would welcome a return as well. Armstrong has 9 goals and 9 assists this season.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ilya Kovalchuk Being Traded to New Jersey

Kevin Allen of the USA Today has just reported that Ilya Kovalchuk is being traded to the New Jersey Devils. This is not good news for Pittsburgh at all. I wonder if this move will affect what the Penguins do at the deadline. What is going to Atlanta remains to be seen. I will update when I get information.

UPDATE 8:20: Atlanta gets rookie forward Niclas Bergfors, defenseman Johnny Oduya, prospect Patrice Cormier and a first-round draft pick. Big win for New Jersey in my opinion.

Pens Moving Away From Whitney and Moving More Towards Ponikarovsky

According to a source, the Penguins are moving away from trading for Ray Whitney and moving towards trying to acquire Alexei Ponikarovsky from Toronto. I will probably get some more information soon but I expected this to happen because Carolina's price for Whitney seemed a bit too high for the Penguins. However, don't count out Whitney just yet. Some crazy things happen in the rumor world.
UPDATE: 6:36 PM: Dan MacKinnon, the Penguins Director of Player Personnel is attending the Columbus Blue Jackets game to scout some players. This is getting interesting. Stay Tuned!

The Rumor Mill

The Penguins have been linked to many different players and rumors over the past week. To keep everyone on the same page, here is what I have heard who the Penguins have interest in:
- Ray Whitney of the Carolina Hurricanes is one of the biggest names to come up linked to Pittsburgh. Whitney, a 37 year old veteran LW, will be a unrestricted free agent this summer. He has a right to accept or reject a trade. He has 16 goals and 25 assists this season with a struggling Hurricanes team. Whitney has been rumored to prefer Pittsburgh as his next destination if he were traded.
 - Alexei Ponikarovsky of the Toronto Maple Leafs has been linked to Pittsburgh by many sources. The Penguins want him to play with Evgeni Malkin. Ponikarovsky, a 29 year old LW, will also hit the free agent market this summer. He has 19 goals and 21 assists with Toronto, who has really struggled lately. The Penguins hope to land him as the Leafs have made two big deals already and it has been reported that they aren't done.

- RJ Umberger of the Columbus Blue Jackets would obviously be a great fit for his hometown team. Umberger has 18 goals and 20 assists this season and is considered a great leader for Columbus. It is unlikely he will be moved but you never know anymore.

Other Notes:
                   - Mark Letetsu will likely be called up after 4:00 tomorrow due to cap reasons.
                   - Max Talbot will not play Saturday while Chris Kunitz is expected to return.