Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pens Sign Letang for Four Years

-The Pittsburgh Penguins signed D Kris Letang to a four year, $14 million extension. He will have a cap hit of $3.5 million per year until the 2013-2014 season. Letang, a third round pick in 2005, has 10 goals and 23 assists this season. The Penguins made it known that signing Letang was one of their top priorities. The 22 year old defenseman was scheduled to become a restricted free agent after the playoffs. He likely could have gotten more money in the free agent market. With Letang under contract next season, Pittsburgh has $44.5 million committed to 14 players already. GM Ray Shero said that this signing will not affect D Sergei Gonchar chances of staying with the team beyond this season. They will likely reopen negotiations after the season is over. Gonchar is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.


-Sergei Gonchar and Evgeni Malkin skated today and it looks like Gonchar will be back in the lineup tomorrow against Tampa Bay. Malkin will likely be held out until the weekend. He did look better according to sources.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pens Beat Flyers and Maple Leafs

-The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 on Saturday afternoon. Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis, Matt Cooke, and Ruslan Fedotenko scored for Pittsburgh. Sidney Crosby had three assists. Marc-Andre Fleury played well stopping 26 of 27 shots. On Sunday afternoon, the Penguins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 in a shootout. Sidney Crosby scored two goals while Tyler Kennedy and Matt Cooke added one goal of their own. Brooks Orpik had a great game assisting on three goals. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 25 of 29 shots. Crosby scored in the shootout to make it 1-0. Then, Dan Bylsma made a good call in sending Dupuis to the shootout. The move payed off as Dupuis' goal sealed a win over Toronto. The Flyers later helped the Penguins out by defeating New Jersey to push Pittsburgh back atop the Atlantic division. The Penguins are starting to look like the team we are used to seeing. They trailed three times in the game against Toronto and tied the game each time and then won in the shootout. All of this was done without Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar. Malkin may be out until next weekend I have heard. Gonchar is getting healthy so hopefully he will be back soon.

Next Game: Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

NHL Renews Efforts To Host 2011 Winter Classic in Pittsburgh





-The NHL wants the Winter Classic to be held in Pittsburgh again after we were told that it was unlikely that the city would hold it about a month ago. NHL officials have been meeting at Heinz Field several times discussing a Capitals-Penguins matchup at Heinz Field on January 1, 2011. PNC Park was an early contender for the game but the NHL figures Heinz Field can generate more revenue due to the number of seats. Heinz Field can hold 65,050 fans compared to 38,496 at PNC Park. This is a perfect way to advertise the league with an outdoor game featuring the two best players in the world, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. An official announcement could be made sometime next week.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Malkin Out Against Flyers

-The Pittsburgh Penguins are set to play their rival, the Philadelphia Flyers tomorrow afternoon at the Mellon Arena. Evgeni Malkin will not play in the game after coming off the ice after skating for fifteen minutes at practice today. It is not known if Sergei Gonchar will play in the game as he missed practice along with G Brent Johnson. Johnson and Gonchar both are sick and could not practice. We hope that this bug does not spread along in the locker room.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Caps Beat Pens in Shootout 4-3

-The Washington Capitals defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in a competitive game that went to a shootout. Jordan Staal, Max Talbot, and Bill Guerin scored for Pittsburgh. The Penguins are now 0-1-2 against Washington with one regular season game at the Mellon Arena left between the two teams. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 29 of 32 shots and looked pretty well in regulation. In the shootout, Kris Letang and Sidney Crosby each scored a goal to give Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead. Alex Ovechkin responded with a goal of his own and then Alex Semin scored to tie it up. Mike Knuble then won the game for Washington after a Chris Kunitz miss. Fleury let three goals go by when he only needed to stop one of them. Although the Penguins did not win, it was good to see Max Talbot score a goal. Pittsburgh outshot Washington by ten shots despite being without Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar. Who's next? The Philadelphia Flyers will visit Mellon Arena on Saturday for a game at 1:00.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Malkin Out For Tonights Game

-The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without star center Evgeni Malkin tonight against the Washington Capitals. He did not participate in the morning skate because of a sore foot. The game will be televised on FSN Pittsburgh and NHL Network at 7:00. Washington C Brooks Laich will also miss the game. The Penguins are probably being cautious with Malkin. The coaching staff does not want to make him play in a game that is not a must win game like a playoff game. I would rather see him 100% healthy when the playoffs begin.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Red Wings Blow Past Pens 3-1

-The Detroit Red Wings had a good night. They defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1, the team that stopped them to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions. In addition, they got two more points to raise their total to 85. Still sitting in eighth place, Detroit has a four point edge over Calgary for the final spot in the playoffs. Without Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh generated 27 shots on goal. Only one went behind rookie goalie Jimmy Howard. That shot was by Pascal Dupuis, who all of the sudden has 18 goals this season. He is two goals away from his career high 20 goals in 2002-03 with Minnesota. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 30 of 33 shots.

It does not get much easier for the Penguins as they take on the Washington Capitals on Wednesday at 7:00. It is not known if Evgeni Malkin will play in the game. Pittsburgh is 3-7 this season with Malkin out of the lineup. The Penguins can clinch a playoff spot with five more points.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pens Next Three Games Will Be a Good Test


 -Remember this? I think every Penguins fan does. This was the last time the Penguins were in Detroit. That great game seven of the Cup Finals where Max Talbot scored two goals to lead the Penguins over the Detroit Red Wings for their third Stanley Cup. Tomorrow night the Wings will try to get revenge in a matchup televised on Versus at 7:00. Detroit is fighting for a playoff spot as they sit in eighth place in the Western Conference. That is very different than what the Red Wings have done in the past. Usually, they are in at least the top five, but times have changed. After Detroit, the Pens travel to Washington for a date with Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals on Wednesday. Then on Saturday, the Philadelphia Flyers come to town to face off against the Pens at the Mellon Arena. Three games, three playoff contenders. It will certainly be a tough three games, but it will be a good test to see how well Pittsburgh looks against the likes of Washington, Philadelphia, and Detroit.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pens Shutout Bruins 3-0

-The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Boston Bruins 3-0 in a game where most of the attention went to Matt Cooke. Shawn Thornton fought Cooke on his first shift of the game. The most important things to come out of this game was a victory and that no one got hurt. This was also the first shutout for the Penguins this season. Goals were scored by Tyler Kennedy, Alexei Ponikarovsky, and Mike Rupp. Kennedy needed that goal after a bad performance last night in New Jersey. With the victory and the Devils shootout loss, Pittsburgh is back in first place in the Atlantic division. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all 17 shots against him. The Penguins play Carolina at home on Saturday at 1:00.

Burkle To Retire At End of August, Morehouse Will Be Named CEO


-Penguins CEO Ken Sawyer (left), who led the Penguins out of bankruptcy and helped get the Consol Energy Center built will retire on August 31. Current Penguins president David Morehouse(right) will take over as CEO when Sawyer retires. He will be both the president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Penguins. What a fantastic job Sawyer did. He made this team from a last place team to one of the best in hockey as well as two Stanley Cup Final appearances, one Stanley Cup, and an over 150 home game sell out streak. We wish the best to Ken Sawyer. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Devils Beat Pens 5-2, Sweep Season Series

-The New Jersey Devils have done it again. They defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 to take the Atlantic division lead away from the Penguins. The Devils swept the season series by going 6-0 against Pittsburgh this season. They outscored the Penguins 22-5 in those six games despite being outshot by Pittsburgh 187-165. Chris Kunitz and Ruslan Fedotenko scored the goals for Pittsburgh. Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled after stopping only 9 of 13 shots. Brent Johnson stopped all five shots against him. Martin Brodeur stopped 24 of 26 shots. The Penguins play Boston tomorrow at 7:00.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Malkin Doubtful for Devils Game

-The opportunity to beat the New Jersey Devils just once took a step backward. Evgeni Malkin did not practice today and is doubtful to play tomorrow in New Jersey. The Devils are already 5-0 against the Penguins and with a win tomorrow, they would sweep the season series. They have outscored Pittsburgh 16-3 in five games and losing Malkin certainly does not help. Due to Malkin's availability, Alexei Ponikarovsky is expected to play with Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis. The lines they practiced on today looked like this:
Ponikarovsky-Crosby-Dupuis
Kunitz-Staal-Guerin
Cooke-Kennedy-Fedotenko
The fourth line rotated between Talbot, Rupp, Adams and Eric Godard, who has returned to skating with the team.
 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pens Strike Lightning 2-1

-With a two goal third period rally, the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1. Pascal Dupuis tied the game at 1 in the third period. Sergei Gonchar scored on a slap shot from the point to score what ended up being the game winner. I was at the game and I really think there were more Penguin fans than Lightning fans. It was a great showing from the Pens Nation. The St. Pete Times Forum really got me excited for the Consol Energy Center. The scoreboard was very nice and I could feel the bass of some of the music in my chest. Consol Energy Center will be even better, I'm sure. Anyways, a lot of fans including myself, panicked when Sidney Crosby went down. That was an ugly hit. I really thought he was seriously injured. Watching the replay in high definition made it worse. Luckily, he came back and played which relieved every Pens fan in the world. However, Evgeni Malkin did get injured, but its nothing serious. He is day to day and he could practice tomorrow.

-Alex Ovechkin is in trouble again. He had a meeting with the NHL today and is suspended for two games after knocking out D Brian Campbell of the Chicago Blackhawks for possibly the rest of the season. Campbell has a broken collarbone, and at least one broken rib. Ovechkin was given a game misconduct in the game, his third of the season.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Brodeur Stops Pens Offense Again

- Five games. One result. Five wins by the New Jersey Devils. The Devils defeated the Penguins for the fifth time this season. Martin Brodeur continued his dominance against Pittsburgh in the 3-1 victory. He stopped 34 of 35 shots while Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 29 of 32 shots. Fleury played well in my opinion, but Brodeur just played like he always does against Pittsburgh. Sidney Crosby scored the only goal for Pittsburgh. New Jersey has outscored the Penguins 16-3 in five games. That is ridiculous. The officiating was not good at all in this game. Craig Adams was handed a game misconduct after a five minute charging penalty on a hit on former Penguin Martin Skoula. On Ilya Kovalchuk's goal, Travis Zajac interfered with Marc-Andre Fleury by hitting Fleury's glove away as he was trying to catch the puck. Nothing was called and the goal stood. This was a very frustrating loss, but hopefully the Penguins can rebound. I have never seen Dan Bylsma so fired up. He looked infuriated after Kovalchuk's goal.



Next Game: Sunday at Tampa Bay Lightning at 5:00.
Note: I will be attending the game in Tampa as a part of a small vacation. I will try to post some pictures if I can.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Penguins 4-0 Since Olympic Break
















-The Pittsburgh Penguins are 4-0 since the break after wins over Dallas and Boston. In Alex Ponikarovsky's debut against Dallas, he scored a goal and then added an assist in the game against Boston. Ponikarovsky made a nice pass to Evgeni Malkin and then screened Bruins goalie Tim Thomas as Malkin put in the goal that turned out to be the game winner. The Penguins next game will be Thursday at 7:00 in Carolina. This will be the first game of a five game road trip. Bill Guerin, who has missed the last few games due to back spasms, returned to practice today.


-Matt Cooke's hit on Marc Savard Sunday has certainly generated a lot of buzz. Savard suffered a concussion and it is not known when he will be back. NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell does not believe Cooke's elbow made contact with Savard's head. Cooke has already been suspended earlier this year, but it will be interesting to see how many games he will be suspended for, if he is. We will know by Thursday, when the Penguins play Carolina. Was it an elbow to the head? You make the call!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pens Win 5-4 Over Rangers in OT

The Pittsburgh Penguins once again proved that they deserve to be called one of the best teams in the NHL by rallying to a 5-4 come from behind win in overtime over the New York Rangers. Jordan Staal had two goals in the game including the game winner in overtime. The other goals in regulation were scored by Mike Rupp, Chris Kunitz, and Alex Goligoski. Coach Dan Bylsma has to be pleased that his team is getting secondary scoring. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin each had one assist. This team is really dangerous when those two get going along with all of the other players on the roster. Marc-Andre Fleury struggled by only stopping 8 of 12 shots. He was pulled and Brent Johnson saved all four shots against him. Yes, I said four. The Penguins outshot the Rangers 55-16. That is very impressive! Did I mention the Penguins were without Bill Guerin and Alexei Ponikarovsky? Thats unbelievable. The Penguins have moved into first place in the Atlantic Division with a 38-22-4 record. The Penguins lead the New Jersey Devils by one point. (80-79)
Next Game: Saturday against the Dallas Stars at Mellon Arena. Ponikarovsky is expected to make his Penguin debut.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Penguins Have Another Good Trade Deadline

The Pittsburgh Penguins have to be considered one of the biggest winners of this years trade deadline. They first acquired D Jordan Leopold from the Florida Panthers for a second round pick in 2010. Then yesterday, they acquired highly coveted LW Alexei Ponikarovsky from the Toronto Maple Leafs for prospect Luca Caputi and D Martin Skoula. Skoula was traded again to the New Jersey Devils today for a fifth round pick. Leopold gives Pittsburgh plenty of depth on defense. Surprisingly, no defensemen were traded today, so Ray Shero seems to be confident that all of these defensemen will contribute to his teams success. On the other front, Ponikarovsky is a guy that many thought would fit with Pittsburgh. When the deal was completed, fan reaction was mixed. Some did not like that Caputi was traded, but others were excited about Ponikarovsky. Eric Tangradi certainly makes it easier to trade a guy like Caputi. Ponikarovsky's debut will likely be on Saturday against Dallas at the Mellon Arena. He is experiencing some visa problems getting to the United States. Being from Ukraine, he was only allowed to come to the US as a visiting team player. There was a lot of talk about Ruslan Fedotenko being traded, but it didn't happen. After a great performance last night, some people wanted to see him stay. Maybe he will get on a hot streak here with 19 games left.

Ray Shero has acquired a lot of good players the last four seasons before the deadline. Lets take a look:
2006-07: Acquired Gary Roberts from Florida for D Noah Welch
               Acquired Georges Laraque from Phoenix for Daniel Carcillo and a draft pick.
2007-08: Acquired Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis from Atlanta for Erik Christensen,Colby Armstrong,Angelo Esposito,and a first round pick.
               Acquired D Hal Gill from Toronto for two draft picks
2008-09: Acquired Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi from Anaheim for D Ryan Whitney
               Acquired Bill Guerin from New York Islanders for conditional draft pick
2009-10: Acquired D Jordan Leopold from Florida for a second round pick
               Acquired LW Alexei Ponikarovsky from Toronto for LW Luca Caputi and D Martin Skoula

Shero has done a tremendous job improving his team for the playoffs.

2010 Trade Deadline

 Calgary trades Dustin Boyd to Nashville
 Pens get Toronto's 6th round pick for D Chris Peluso
Edmonton gets Ryan Whitney for Lubomir Visnovsky

Washington gets Joe Corvo and Milan Jurcina
Phoenix gets Lee Stempniak
LA gets Frederik Modin
Anaheim gets Joey MacDonald
Vancouver gets Andrew Alberts for 3rd

 A recap of deals today so far:
Raffi Torres to Buffalo for 2nd,Nathan Paetsch
Eric Belanger to Washington for 2nd
Jeff Halpren to LA for 3rd, roster player
Wojtek Wolski to Phoenix for Mueller,Porter
Scott Walker to Washington
Derek Morris to Phoenix
Aaron Ward to Anaheim
Dennis Seidenberg to Boston
Martin Skoula to New Jersey
Vesa Toskala to Calgary

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

PENS ACQUIRE LW ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY

The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired LW Alexei Ponikarovsky from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for D Martin Skoula and LW Luca Caputi. Ponikarovsky, 29, has 19 goals and 22 assists this season. He is a free agent after this season. Caputi had 23 goals and 24 assists in Wilkes Barre/Scranton while Martin Skoula had 3 goals and 5 assists in 33 games with Pittsburgh. I think this is a good deal for Pittsburgh in my opinion. Caputi sure is hard to give up but Ray Shero must be confident that Ponikarovsky will play well with Evgeni Malkin. If it turns out, the Penguins could re-sign him. Skoula was basically a throw in. Ponikarovsky is 6'4 and 220 lbs which is great size for a 20 goal scorer. We have been talking about him ever since the day this blog began. It will be interesting to see if Shero does anything else. Keep checking the blog for updates!

 

March 2nd Trade Deadline Buzz

 9:07 PM: Bob McKenzie is reporting the Penguins are close to acquiring Alexei Ponikarovsky from Toronto for Luca Caputi. Deal is not official, but should be soon.

5:13 PM: It is looking like the Penguins search for a winger will go into the deadline tomorrow.

2:54 PM: Keep an eye on LW Wojtek Wolski of the Colorado Avalanche. McKenzie reported that Colorado is taking offers for him. According to TIOPS, Colorado has asked the Penguins about the excessive defensemen. Wolski, 24, has 17 goals and 30 assists this season. No word that the Pens are in on him, but its possible. Alexei Ponikarovsky and Raffi Torres seem to be the names that come up most for Pittsburgh.

2:38 PM: Bob McKenzie has reported that the Penguins look like they are turning away from Ray Whitney.

2:08 PM: According to TIOPS, the Penguins are shopping the rights to prospect D Carl Sneep. Sneep may not sign with Pittsburgh after his senior season at Boston College.

1:54 PM: The Ottawa Senators have acquired D Andy Sutton from the New York Islanders for a second round pick. Sutton was a player Pittsburgh may have had some interest in.

1:20 PM: No Penguins were put on waivers today. more to come..

11:36 AM: Jay McKee will be a healthy scratch tonight. This is going to be interesting. Multiple teams have inquired about McKee, so we will see what the Penguins do with all of these defensemen. Jordan Leopold will play with Alex Goligoski tonight. The Carolina Hurricanes are apparently asking for a high draft pick and either Tyler Kennedy or Max Talbot for Ray Whitney according to TIOPS. That is way too much for a 37 year old UFA. The price will likely come down around 2:45 tomorrow unless they get a good deal from another team. The Penguins are listening to offers for Sergei Gonchar, but it is unlikely he will be dealt.

Monday, March 1, 2010

PENS ACQUIRE D JORDAN LEOPOLD

















The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired D Jordan Leopold today from the Florida Panthers in exchange for a second round draft pick. Leopold, 29, has seven goals and eleven assists so far this season. He does fit under the cap right now. Coach Dan Bylsma said that he will be a top 4 defenseman for the Penguins. In my opinion, this is a good trade for Pittsburgh. Leopold has played in all 61 games so far this season and he can be very effective. Considering the Penguins did not have to trade anyone off of their roster, this trade looks good. Keep in mind, this pick is a very late pick. Most people feel that the Penguins will likely trade one of their defenseman for a winger, perhaps. That is a good prediction because Pittsburgh now has eight healthy defensemen. The Penguins are not going to overpay for anybody, but look for Shero to do something else.



11:00 AM: It is official. The Penguins have acquired D Jordan Leopold fromi Florida for a 2nd round pick. I had class at 10 so I was unable to update. My apologies. Analysis to come later on today. Ray Shero has said any defenseman can be had except Brooks Orpik. This probably means he will trade a defenseman for a winger. Stay Tuned!

9:48 AM: The Penguins may have traded a 2nd round pick to Florida for D Jordan Leopold. trying to confirm this

Pens Could Make Deal Today













9:22 AM: According to TIOPS, the Pittsburgh Penguins could have framework for a deal in place today. Names have not been mentioned yet. March Madness in hockey may start on the first day of March for the Penguins. Practice will be held at 11:00 today. That practice could tell us something, especially if Ruslan Fedotenko is not there. Rob Rossi of the Tribune Review reported that talks on a new deal with Sergei Gonchar will be put off until the offseason.
Keep checking the blog for updates!