Saturday, July 31, 2010

Krazy Kariya/Selanne Rumor

-Are we going back to the 90's? Remember when Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya were considered the dynamic duo back then? Well according to Eklund, they may be thinking about reuniting with the 2010 dynamic duo, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Eklund reported that Selanne and Kariya are thinking about taking a discount to play with Crosby. He does not mean one or the other. He means both. It is Eklund, but it has been slow the last few days, so this rumor is fun to talk about. I do not know if this would ever happen, but we've seen crazier things. Would a Kariya-Crosby-Selanne line work? Who knows? That would be quite a storyline if that happened.
-Happy birthday to Malkin who turned 24 today.

Reirden Named Pens Assistant Coach

-The Pittsburgh Penguins announced that Todd Reirden will replace Mike Yeo as the Penguins assistant coach. Yeo left Pittsburgh after he was named the head coach of the Houston Aeros. Reirden was the head coach of the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Baby Penguins the past season and half after Dan Bylsma became the coach of the Penguins. He led the Baby Penguins to the second round of the playoffs with a 49-25-3-3 record. This past season, the Baby Penguins got knocked out of the playoffs in the first round without winning a game in the series. Their record was 41-34-2-3.He has a very good relationship with Bylsma, which was probably a big factor in the decision to promote him. Pittsburgh interviewed somewhere around twelve coaches.
-Former assistant coach of Wilkes Barre/Scranton, John Hynes, will be the new coach of the Baby Penguins.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Guerin Still A Possibility

-The Pittsburgh Penguins are still keeping their eye on Bill Guerin, but they want him at the lowest price possible. The New York Rangers and Boston Bruins are the other contenders for Guerin, along with the Penguins. The Bruins may make a push for him after arbitration is over. Pittsburgh does not want to move forward in talks this week. It seems like the Penguins are waiting to see how much money Guerin will take.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ponikarovsky Signs With Kings

-Alexei Ponikarovsky has signed with the Los Angeles Kings. He signed a 1 year, $3 million contract, with a $200,000 signing bonus. Ponikarovsky, acquired by the Penguins from Toronto for Luca Caputi and Martin Skoula, struggled with the Penguins as he only scored two goals and recorded nine points in sixteen games with Pittsburgh. He eventually fell out of favor in the playoffs and was benched. He also skipped his exit interview at the end of the season.

2011 Winter Classic Logo Unveiled

-Today at Heinz Field, the site for the 2011 Winter Classic, the NHL unveiled its logo for the outdoor game as well as the Penguins and Capitals logo's they will use. The jerseys will be unveiled in the fall. Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, and Max Talbot attended the press conference. The game will be played on January 1st, 2011.
-Alex Frolov signed with the New York Rangers today. He got a 1 year, $3 million contract.

Monday, July 26, 2010

John Barbaro Passes Away

-Longtime Penguins public address announcer John Barbaro died today after a battle with cancer. Barbaro spent over twenty years as the Penguins PA announcer, and will always be remembered as one of the best of all time. All of us Penguin fans grew up with his voice after each goal scored at the Mellon Arena. Who could forget this?

I certainly will not forget John. I really missed him this past season. To learn more about John, click here.
My thoughts and prayers go out to John's family and friends. Rest in peace John.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Waiting On Wingers

-The Pittsburgh Penguins still have not signed a winger to play with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Most of their targets seem to be waiting for better offers as Ilya Kovalchuk's contract situation is still up in the air. With that in mind, the NHL free agent market has been at a standstill as only a few players have signed in the past week. The Penguins are interested in:

-Paul Kariya is a player that the Penguins have been linked to for a while now, but Pittsburgh is not in any discussions with him at this point. He will likely wait until August and then decide who is the right fit for him. He scored 18 goals and recorded 43 points for the St. Louis Blues last season. The 35 year old made $6 million last season, but he will likely not get anything near that this season.
-Raffi Torres has been linked to the Penguins for a while now as they were interested in him at the trade deadline. The two sides have held discussions, but no offer was made. Some sources have said that the Penguins would really like to sign Kariya or Torres, but we will see. The 28 year old scored 19 goals and recorded 36 points with Columbus and Buffalo. He is line for a pay cut after making $2.75 million last season.
-Marek Svatos is a player that comes with some risk, but can also come with a reward. Svatos is a 28 year old who is injury prone, but scored 32 goals in his rookie season in 2005-06 with Colorado. He scored 7 goals last season in 54 games. Svatos' agent has contacted the Penguins, but Pittsburgh has not followed up. To get interest from Pittsburgh, he would likely have to take a two-way contract or training camp invite because of his injury history.

-The Penguins are still talking to Bill Guerin as he remains a possibility. Pittsburgh is not looking at Alex Frolov or Lee Stempniak. They did have early interest in Maxim Afinogenov, but that interest has diminished.

-I will be appearing on the Hockey Guys radio show tomorrow at 12:15 or 12:40 to discuss the Penguins. The episode will also feature James van Riemsdyk, of the Philadelphia Flyers as well as Dennis Bernstein, of TheFourthPeriod.com. To get the time I will be on, follow me on Twitter

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Drama Continues

-After we all thought that the Ilya Kovalchuk saga was over after he signed a 17 year, $102 million contract with New Jersey, it is now just the beginning. The NHL announced a little after the press conference to introduce Kovalchuk that the league rejected the deal for salary cap circumvention. One problem is that he would only earn $550,000 the last five seasons in the contract. The NHL believes New Jersey just did that for a low cap hit. In addition, Kovalchuk probably would not play under those terms for five years.The deal was the longest NHL deal ever, but that could change. The Devils will need to restructure the contract or an arbiter will have to have to decide what happens next. If the arbiter's ruling goes in Kovalchuk's favor, then the contract will have to be accepted. If the league wins the ruling, then Kovalchuk will hit the open market once again.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

2011 Winter Classic Information To Be Unveiled Next Week

-The 2011 Winter Classic between the Penguins and the Washington Capitals will take place on January 1, 2011. The jerseys worn that day as well as the logo for the event will be unveiled sometime next week. Ticket information will also be released. The outdoor game will be held at Heinz Field, the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
-It appears that Maxim Afinogenov will not be a Penguin as Pittsburgh has moved in another direction. He is now the top point getter among all available UFA's. He is probably out of the Penguins price range.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Kovalchuk Re-Signs With Devils

-UPDATE: Kovalchuk got a 17 year, $102 million contract.
-On Day 19 of the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes, the Russian born sniper decided to stay with the New Jersey Devils. After speculation that he would sign in Los Angeles with the Kings, he rejected their final offer and will return to the team he played for last. The terms are not exactly final yet. The total deal is rumored to be over $100 million for 17 years. We will update once we hear the actual amount. A press conference will be held tomorrow at 1:00.
-Simon Gagne has been traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning for D Matt Walker and a 4th round pick.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Penguins Considering Morrison

-The Pittsburgh Penguins have been linked to yet another center. That center is 34 year old, Brendan Morrison. Morrison, who played with the Washington Capitals last season, scored 12 goals and recorded 42 points. He was an impressive +23 as well, which ranked 15th in the NHL. He skates well and is considered a playmaker. According to a source, he will narrow down his list of suitors by next week. If he signed with the Penguins, Evgeni Malkin or Jordan Staal would have to move to a wing.
-Reports are surfacing that Ilya Kovalchuk may be close to signing with the Los Angeles Kings. Do not believe it until you see it.
-Mike Modano is close to signing with the Detroit Red Wings.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Penguins Development Camp/Quick Hits

-The Pittsburgh Penguins first practice of the developmental camp was held yesterday at Southpointe, and it went very well. The camp started with ten players coming out to do some skating drills with an instructor. Shortly after, all of the players came out and started to do hockey drills. From what I saw yesterday, the Penguins sure have a number of talented prospects. It was great to see hockey in July. Eric Tangradi, considered the Penguins #1 prospect, certainly showed a lot of skill on the first day. He is very good on the fore-check and skates very well. His shot is very fast but he did hit the post or miss the net a lot. He showed a lot of potential to be a good player for the Penguins. He also showed that he could fit in the locker room with him joking around on the ice. Beau Bennett looked very good as well today. It was hard to do a lot of player evaluations today since each player was wearing a random number. Simon Despres may have been a steal of the 2009 draft. The Penguins really have high hopes for him, as he skated very well yesterday.
-There has been chatter about the Penguins talking to Columbus to acquire Nikita Filatov, but I do not think it is true.
-The Penguins remain in discussions with winger Maxim Afinogenov, but no offer has been made yet.  

Monday, July 12, 2010

Latest NHL News

-"Why has the free agent market slowed down?" 2 words. Ilya Kovalchuk. The top name of the free agent class has yet to sign with a team 12 days into free agency. Since Kovalchuk is demanding so much money, he is holding up the other free agents such as Alex Frolov, Maxim Afinogenov and others. Teams do not know how much money they will have left if they sign Kovalchuk, so the other players are holding out to get the best possible offer. It seems as if the Kovalchuk sweepstakes is down to Los Angeles and New Jersey at this point. He was in Los Angeles today looking around the area with Dustin Brown, a member of the Kings. It is not known when he will sign with a team, but hopefully it is soon. New Jersey has reportedly offered him around $60 million over 7 years. Kovalchuk wants $10 million per season, but I am not sure if he will get that.

 -The Penguins do not seem to want to bring back D Jay McKee this season. They have not contacted him since July 1st, which is a clear sign they are moving in a different direction. There are around five teams that do have interest in McKee. The same goes for Alexei Ponikarovsky, as teams are kicking the tires with him, but no team has made an offer yet. That will change once the Kovalchuk saga is over.
-Patrick Sharp of the Chicago Blackhawks is now being rumored to be another salary cap casualty out of Chicago. Since the team matched the San Jose Sharks offer to RFA defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson and still need to sign goaltender Antti Niemi, they may need to shed space again. Sharp would be a good fit for the Penguins, but the price may be too high.
-The Penguins Development Camp will hit the ice tomorrow and I will be providing live updates on my Twitter page from Southpointe. Notable players attending are Eric Tangradi, Simon Despres, Dustin Jeffrey, and Beau Bennett. Follow me on Twitter!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pens Sign D Andrew Hutchinson, Niedermayer to Sabres

-The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed D Andrew Hutchinson to a one year, two-way contract. The deal would pay him $500,000 at the NHL level. The 30 year old defenseman scored nine goals and recorded 38 points in 78 games this past season for the Texas Stars of the AHL. He was the AHL's defenseman of the year in 2007-08.
-Although Rob Niedermayer was considering the Penguins as his next team, he decided to sign with the Buffalo Sabres. He signed a 1 year, $1 million contract.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pens Have Held Talks with Afinegenov

-The Pittsburgh Penguins are still deciding on which forward to sign to help out Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Maxim Afinegenov's agent has said that Pittsburgh has held dicussions about bringing him to Pittsburgh. Afinegenov had a breakout season last season where he scored 24 goals and recorded 61 points.
-Other veterans that have been linked to Pittsburgh are Rob Niedermayer, Mike Modano, Jeff Halpern, and Dominic Moore.

Niedermayer Talks In Preliminary Stages

-The Pittsburgh Penguins continue to talk to the agent of Rob Niedermayer in an effort to sign the veteran forward. Niedermayer, 35, wants assurance that he will be Pittsburgh's third line center in order to keep talking. That would mean that Jordan Staal or Evgeni Malkin would have to move to a wing. Malkin is the most likely one to make the switch. Niedermayer scored ten goals and recorded 22 points in 71 games for the New Jersey Devils.
-Jeff Halpern, a 34 year old center, contacted the Penguins to see if they were interested in him. It is unknown if Pittsburgh is interested because he was limited to only 16 games last year only getting two assists.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

PENS GET DEFENSIVE, SIGN MARTIN AND MICHALEK

-After watching Sergei Gonchar leave Pittsburgh for a 3 year, $16.5 million deal with the Ottawa Senators, Penguins fans panicked. Are we going to have any defensemen? Ray Shero quickly answered that question by signing D Zybnek Michalek to a 5 year, $20 million contract that includes a limited no-trade clause. Michalek, a 27 year old formerly of the Phoenix Coyotes, is a perfect fit for the Penguins as he led the NHL in blocked shots in 2008-09. Then we asked, who would replace Gonchar? Shero then shocked the world by signing D Paul Martin to a 5 year, $25 million contract. Martin, a 29 year old formerly of the New Jersey Devils, will do a respectable job replacing Gonchar. He is also much younger than Gonchar. The Pittsburgh Penguins will now have much better defense than this past season. Stay tuned for more signings.