Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hamhuis Negotiations Heating Up

-GM Ray Shero talked to Wade Arnott, Dan Hamhuis' agent on two occasions today. The two parties are continuing to discuss a deal for Hamhuis to play in Pittsburgh. According to a source, he is very intrigued by the chance to play with the Penguins. The rumors that he wanted to play in Canada were shot down by Arnott today as he said Dan is open minded and will consider playing anywhere. Hamhuis will make a decision tomorrow morning whether or not to continue talks with the Penguins. If he elects to test free agency, Pittsburgh will still be on his list. Free agents can sign with teams at 12 PM on Thursday.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Latest

-No progress was made today with the Penguins and Sergei Gonchar. The team will continue to talk tomorrow to his representatives about a new contract. No word has come out yet about the Dan Hamhuis preliminary talks that were scheduled for today.
-Pittsburgh wants to get a deal done before July 1st with Bill Guerin. They want him back, but he will have to take a pay cut.
-Colby Armstrong and Tomas Kaberle continue to be mentioned as possible pickups for the Penguins. If Gonchar does not re-sign with Pittsburgh, Kaberle is a possibility. Armstrong wants to return to Pittsburgh, but it is unknown how much the Penguins will offer.

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Friday, June 25, 2010


-The day has finally came. After targeting D Dan Hamhuis during the trade deadline, the Penguins made a late night splash after the first round of the draft by acquiring the rights to Hamhuis from the Philadelphia Flyers for a third round pick in 2011. From what I have heard, the Penguins are expected to sign the 27 year old. Shero would not do this unless he knew he could sign him, especially since he could not sign with the Flyers after they got his rights from Nashville earlier. Hamhuis is 6'1 weighing 205 pounds. He scored five goals and recorded 24 points in 78 games this past season with the Predators.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Gonchar's Fate Could Be Decided Today

-Today could be a huge day for Sergei Gonchar. Gonchar's agent is expected to meet with Ray Shero today in Los Angeles to discuss a contract. However, there have also been rumors that this meeting is to waive his no-trade clause for that possible trade to the San Jose Sharks, which was all over the internet yesterday. If not San Jose, many other teams will probably be interested in his negotiating rights. Whether that is true or not, how today goes could decide what the Penguins do with him.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Crosby Wins Messier Award

-Sidney Crosby was named today as the winner of the Mark Messier leadership award, which recognizes a superior leader in hockey and as a contributing member of society. Crosby also will share the Rocket Richard trophy with Steven Stamkos for the most goals. Jordan Staal came in third in voting for the Selke award, which went to Pavel Datsyuk.
-Alex Ovechkin was the NHLPA's MVP for the third season in a row.
-Henrik Sedin won the Hart trophy as the league's most valuable player. Crosby came in third in voting.
-Duncan Keith won the Norris trophy.
-Ryan Miller won the Vezina trophy.
-Tyler Meyers won the Calder trophy.

Blackhawks Shed Salary in Blockbuster Trade With Atlanta

-The Chicago Blackhawks accomplished their goal by shedding salary and getting a draft pick and a role player with a low cap hit. They traded postseason hero RW Dustin Byfuglien, D Brent Sopel, LW Ben Eager, and RW Akim Aliu to the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for the 24th overall pick in Friday's draft, the 54h overall pick, C Marty Reasoner, RW Joey Crabb and RW Jeremy Morin. Chicago will save around $5 million in cap space when the deal is approved by the NHL. The Blackhawks needed to clear salary with new extensions from their star players kicking in this season. It is unknown whether they will still consider trading Kris Versteeg, a winger the Penguins have interest in.

Gonchar to Sharks?

-Earlier this morning, the Bleacher Report reported that the rights to Sergei Gonchar were traded to the San Jose Sharks. The article said the return was unknown. Do not believe this rumor until it has been confirmed by a legitimate source. This story is not even on the front page of the site, so it may not be true. If it was, it certainly would be one of the main stories as Gonchar is one of the best defensemen on the market. We will continue to follow this story, but as of now, it is not true.
-An update on the Blackhawks/Penguins trade talks: According to TIOPS, the two teams have had preliminary discussions. Pittsburgh is seeking Kris Versteeg while Chicago is eying Tyler Kennedy and Max Talbot. It is not known if it would take both players to get Versteeg, but Pittsburgh probably would not do that.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Paul Martin A Likely Target If Gonchar Departs

-According to TIOPS, the Penguins top free agent target will be D Paul Martin if Sergei Gonchar signs with another team. Martin is ahead of Anton Volchenkov on Pittsburgh's wish list, likely because of the money Volchenkov is seeking. Martin plays both ends very well as he was arguably the New Jersey Devils best defenseman when he plays. That is saying a lot when New Jersey swept the Penguins in the season series this past season. Martin had 11 points in 22 games this past season due to an injury. The Penguins are still talking to Gonchar as the Penguins are looking at an proposal that has been given from Gonchar's camp.

Pens Sign Cooke to 3 Year Deal

-GM Ray Shero accomplished one of his offseason goals by locking up winger Matt Cooke for three years. Cooke signed a three year, $5.4 million contract this morning. That averages to about $1.8 million per season, a raise of over $500,000. The contract may include a limited no trade clause, but it has not been confirmed. Cooke could have gotten much more money on the open market, but he elected to stay with Pittsburgh, as we reported that he wanted to stay. On July 1st, he could have become an unrestricted free agent. Kudos to Shero for locking him up for a good price.
-Mark Eaton has not had any discussions with the Penguins so far and could become a free agent July 1st. His agent said that the two sides will likely meet in Los Angeles on Friday.
- According to TIOPS, the Chicago Blackhawks are interested in some role players of the Penguins with low cap hits. The names remain to be seen. Chicago will need to shed some salary space and Pittsburgh  would likely have some interest in some players that have been rumored to be available. Those players include Patrick Sharp, Kris Versteeg, and Andrew Ladd.
-The Florida Panthers have traded Nathan Horton to the Boston Bruins for Dennis Wideman and the 15th overall pick in the draft.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pens Sign Lovejoy to 3 Year Deal

-The Pittsburgh Penguins signed D Ben Lovejoy to a three-year contract today. The deal is a two-way contract that will pay him $525,000 at the NHL level. Lovejoy will be heavily considered to start this upcoming season. Ray Shero got a deal for Lovejoy, who was schedule to be a restricted free agent on July 1st.
-The Penguins also made it official that they will face the Philadelphia Flyers in the first regular season game at the Consol Energy Center on October 7th at 7:08 PM. The entire schedule will be announced tomorrow at noon.
-Sergei Gonchar has not scheduled not any discussions with Shero for the rest of the week, which could mean the two parties are not close on a deal. Matt Cooke is hopeful to get a deal done this week as he has once again said he wants to stay in Pittsburgh.

Penguins Interested in Ray Whitney?

-According to TIOPS, GM Ray Shero and Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford have held discussions regarding the rights to UFA Ray Whitney. Pittsburgh was interested in Whitney at the trade deadline, but the price was way too high. Whitney scored 21 goals this past season and recorded 58 points. The Hurricanes are likely going to let him at least test free agency because he is now 38 years old. He is looking for job security in what could be his final season in the NHL this season. He wants to play for a contender, which makes the Penguins a good fit. Whitney made $3.55 million this past season.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Gonchar Talks Heating Up/ Flyers Acquire Rights to Dan Hamhuis

-According to Rob Rossi, talks with D Sergei Gonchar have been intensified the last few days as numbers have been exchanged. Those numbers are not known at this point. The Penguins have not given Gonchar a deadline, but if they would want to trade him at the draft, he would have to waive his no-trade clause. The NHL draft is on Friday, so this week is the most crucial week for the talks with Gonchar. The Gonchar situation will make Matt Cooke, Mark Eaton, and Jordan Leopold wait. Gonchar is Ray Shero's number one priority.

-The defenseman free agent market may be getting thinner soon with the Philadelphia Flyers acquiring the rights to D Dan Hamhuis from the Nashville Predators for D Ryan Parent and a 2011 conditional draft pick. Hamhuis was a player the Penguins looked at before the trade deadline and would have likely called him if he became a free agent. The Flyers will probably have to move some salary, but I expect them to sign Hamhuis to a deal. Philadelphia will have a very strong defense if he gets signed.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ponikarovsky Likely Will Test Free Agency

-According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Alexei Ponikarovsky will likely test free agency. Ponikarovsky struggled with Pittsburgh after coming over in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs for Luca Caputi and Martin Skoula. He will be seeking a longer contract likely more than what the Penguins will offer. He did not seem to fit as well as Ray Shero had hoped.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Halak Traded To Blues/Pens Free Agency News

-According to TSN, the Montreal Canadiens traded G Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues for C Lars Eller and RW Ian Schultz. Halak was a playoff hero as he led the Canadiens past the Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins, and almost past the Philadelphia Flyers. Montreal has named G Carey Price as their #1 goaltender.
-Michel Therrien will not be the New Jersey Devils coach after all. John MacLean was named the new head coach today.
-Some Pens free agency news: According to TIOPS, the Penguins and Matt Cooke are about $500,000 apart from eachother, but the amount of years is agreeable. Cooke wants over $2 million per season. A deal is not imminent, but a deal could be reached by July 1st.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

McKee Will Test Free Agency

-In late May, the Pittsburgh Penguins made it known to Jay McKee's representatives that they would like to have him back. According to TIOPS, McKee has already said that he will test free agency and that he will not sign with Pittsburgh before July 1st. He will not have any talks before then with Ray Shero. His decision whether to return or not will depend on what defensemen the Penguins sign.
-Todd Bertuzzi has re-signed with the Detroit Red Wings. (2 years, $3.875 million)

Pens To Open Consol Energy Center in Preseason Game Against Detroit

-The Pittsburgh Penguins have announced their 2010 preseason schedule. They will open the Consol Energy Center against the Detroit Red Wings on September 22 at 7 PM. It will be the first hockey game ever played at the Consol Energy Center. The Penguins also announced that most games will start at 7 PM rather than 7:30 like it was at the Mellon Arena.

Preseason Schedule:
Wednesday, Sept. 22 DETROIT 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 24 at Columbus TBD
Saturday, Sept. 25 COLUMBUS 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 28 CHICAGO 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 1 at Chicago TBD
Sunday, Oct. 3 at Detroit TBD

Mike Yeo Hired As Houston Aeros Head Coach

-Mike Yeo's tenure with the Pittsburgh Penguins is over. Yeo, 36, has agreed to a three year deal to coach the Houston Aeros, the AHL affiliate of the Minnesota Wild. Yeo played for the Aeros during his career. He was actually the captain of the 1998-99 season that went on to win the Turner Cup which is the IHL championship.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Crosby Likely Not On NHL 11 Video Game Cover

-For a while, many fans speculated that Sidney Crosby would maybe finally be featured on a cover of a hockey video game, but that apparently will not be the case. NHL 2K11 has already announced that Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks will be on the cover for their new hockey game. That leaves EA Sports' NHL 11 as the only other hockey game coming out. Earlier today, the EA site put up a new NHL 11 template with Conn Smythe Winner and Stanley Cup champion, Jonathan Toews. Toews is the captain of the Chicago Blackhawks. It is rare for a game to put two players from the same team in two consecutive years. Patrick Kane was on the cover of NHL 10. That site where the template was found is now down and no one can confirm if it is true or not. Someone at EA may have made a mistake by letting it go online. Toews will appear on Jay Leno tonight, so maybe he will mention something. Considering the template was on EA's site, it is probably the right time to say that Sidney Crosby will likely not be on a cover this upcoming season.
Here is the template that was up a few hours ago:

Pens Sign Wagner To One Year Deal

-The Pittsburgh Penguins signed D Steve Wagner to a one year deal. The contract is a two-way contract and Wagner can make up to $500,000 at the NHL level. That type of contract is the same as Deryk Engelland and Nick Johnson, both who were recently signed by Pittsburgh. Wagner, who was acquired from the St. Louis Blues for Nate Guenin, played twenty games for Wilkes Barre/Scranton this past season. He scored one goal and recorded six assists. 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Gonchar Likely To Test Free Agency

-Sergei Gonchar is expected to get a good bit of offers when he becomes a free agent on July 1st. Unless the Penguins increase their offer, all indications are that Gonchar will test free agency. He has been rumored to be on as many as nine team's free agency wish lists including the Penguins. A return to Pittsburgh has not been ruled out, but it will be difficult to keep him in a Penguins jersey. New Florida Panthers GM Don Tallon is expected to be very aggressive this July and according to TIOPS, Gonchar is Tallon's number one target.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Orpik Undergoes Successful Hernia Surgery

-Brooks Orpik underwent a successful sports hernia surgery yesterday in Boston. The Penguins announced that his rehab will take about 4-6 weeks, which means he should be a full strength by the time training camp starts. Orpik is by far the most physical defenseman on the Penguins roster.

 -An update on the free agency talks: Pittsburgh has yet to talk to Jordan Leopold or Mark Eaton. There have been rumors that the Penguins have talked to Sergei Gonchar, Jay McKee, Matt Cooke, and Bill Guerin. Cooke is the player the Penguins have talked to the most as talks have been intensifying lately. Eaton is expected to test free agency, but he still could sign in Pittsburgh. In late May, Jay McKee was approached by the Penguins saying that they were interested in bringing him back. The Penguins have not really closed the door on any of the players talked about in this article.   

Friday, June 11, 2010

Inside The Consol Energy Center

Yesterday, I was able to get into the brand new Consol Energy Center for the Student Flush promotion. I must say, it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Just to see the arena before the public was amazing and the Consol Energy Center is all it is hyped to be. I was interviewed by some of the media and I managed to be quoted in the Penguins website's top story. Students were put into one of about 20 different groups with a former or current Penguin's name and number. I was lucky enough to be in Mario Lemieux's group! But what I wanted to say was that the people that came in late were put into the Alexei Ponikarovsky group. Did management have something to do with that? I had to chuckle a bit because it seemed like the workers there were saying, "Whoever comes here last will get the shaft and be in Poni's group." It seems doubtful that he will be back in Pittsburgh next season. I managed to take some pictures of the arena below.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Talks With Guerin, Cooke Picking Up

-According to TIOPS, talks with free agent Matt Cooke have intensified within the last two days. Cooke is Shero's number two priority, but he may move up to number one if Sergei Gonchar does not take a discount to stay with the Penguins.
-The Penguins also held discussions with Bill Guerin on Tuesday and are trying to get something done before the draft on June 25th.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pens Sign Nick Johnson To One Year Deal

-The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed RW Nick Johnson to one year, two-way contract. The deal would pay him $500,000 at the NHL level. Johnson scored a goal and recorded an assist in six games with Pittsburgh this past season. In Wilkes Barre/Scranton, he scored 16 goals in recording 43 points in 61 games. He is expected to be competing for a roster spot next season. Johnson was scheduled to become a restricted free agent.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Seidenberg Re-Signs With Boston

-Dennis Seidenberg, a defenseman the Penguins might have looked at during free agency, has re-signed with the Boston Bruins. Boston gave him a four year, $13 million contract. That averages to about $3.25 million a season. Seidenberg led the NHL in blocked shots this season with 215. The Penguins are looking for a defenseman of his caliber. Three options Pittsburgh can pursue are Anton Volchenkov, Zbynek Michalek or Andy Sutton, who will all be free agents if they are not signed by July 1st. All three of those players were in the top 20 in blocked shots this past season. Volchenkov and Michalek may be better suited for Pittsburgh since they are relatively young at 28 and 27, respectively.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Latest NHL News and Rumors

-According to TIOPS, the Penguins ownsership is preparing to offer GM Ray Shero a 4 to 5 year extension worth around $2 million a season. That would put him among the highest paid GM's in the NHL. Shero has led the Penguins to four playoff appearances in four years, as well as two Stanley Cup Final appearances with Shero and the Penguins winning the Cup in 2009. Ownership will likely wait until training camp so Shero can focus on free agency during the offseason. This is the last year of his contract.

-Some Penguins free agency rumors:

Sergei Gonchar: Shero and Gonchar's agent will be meeting next week to discuss a contract. He is Shero's number one priority. 
Matt Cooke: Same as Gonchar, but Cooke is Shero's number two priority.
Mark Eaton: Eaton's house is for sale, but do not look into that too much. His agent is on vacation this week so no timetable has been set.

-Scratch LW Tomas Holmstrom off the possible free agents the Penguins will look at. He re-signed with the Detroit Red Wings for two years worth $3.75 million. Detroit also re-signed D Nicklas Lidstrom to a one year, $6.2 million contract.
-Tomas Kaberle and Jason Spezza are two names to watch over the summer as both could possibly be traded.
 -The Washington Capitals are reportedly thinking about offering D Anton Volchenkov a multi year contract worth around $5 million a year.
-21 days until the NHL Entry Draft

 -Pens Nation is now offering Pens Nation text alerts where anytime we hear a trade or a signing has been confirmed, a text will be sent out to your phone immediately! You will need this to keep updated during the draft and free agency. Numbers will not be seen by ANYONE. I am using a very secure site. To sign up, enter your number in the box on the left of this page and follow the instructions.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Player Evaluations: Centers

Player Evaluations: Centers

##87 Sidney Crosby
Season Stats: 81 Games Played, 51 Goals, 58 Assists, 109 Points, +15
Playoff Stats: 13 Games Played, 6 Goals, 13 Assists, 19 Points, +6
The 22 year old Crosby exceeded everyone's expectations by scoring 51 goals in the regular season. He is an Art Ross candidate and a legitimate contender to win the award. Grade: A+
#71 Evgeni Malkin
Season Stats: 67 Games Played, 28 Goals, 49 Assists, 77 Points, -6
Playoff Stats: 13 Games Played, 5 Goals, 6 Assists, 11 Points, 0
Malkin performed below expectations during the regular season producing the lowest point total in his career. However, he did miss 15 games. We hope he rebounds next season. Grade: B
 #11 Jordan Staal
Season Stats: 82 Games Played, 21 Goals, 28 Assists, 49 Points, +19
Playoff Stats: 11 Games Played, 3 Goals, 2 Assists, 5 Points, -4
Staal repeated his point total from last season, but he led the Penguins in plus/minus. He showed some toughness throughout the playoffs. Good numbers for a third liner. Grade: B+
#25 Max Talbot
Season Stats: 45 Games Played, 2 Goals, 5 Assists, 7 Points, -9
Playoff Stats: 13 Games Played, 2 Goals, 4 Assists, 6 Points, +1
Talbot missed  37 games with an injury and really did not make a huge impact like he did last season. He did go on to score two goals in the playoffs. Grade: C
#48 Tyler Kennedy
Season Stats: 64 Games Played, 13 Goals, 12 Assists, 25 Points, +10
Playoff Stats: 10 Games Played, 0 Goals, 0 Assists, 0 Points, -6
Kennedy missed some time as well but did manage to score 13 goals, 2 short of his total last year. In the playoffs, he did not register a single point. Grade: C-

#17 Mike Rupp
Season Stats: 81 Games Played, 13 Goals, 6 Assists, 19 Points, +5
Playoff Stats: 11 Games Played, 0 Goals, 0 Assists, 0 Points, 0
Rupp enjoyed a healthy season and had a career high in goals off of Pittsburgh's fourth line. He did not register a single point in the playoffs, but was very physical. Grade: B-

These grades were based on expectations, numbers etc.