Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Penguins Make Latest Round of Cuts


The Pittsburgh Penguins made their training camp roster smaller earlier today by sending 11 players to AHL affiliate, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Forwards included in the cuts are Chris Conner, Nick Johnson, Brett Sterling, Joe Vitale, and Tim Wallace. The defensemen that were sent down include Robert Bortuzzo, Corey Potter, Brian Strait and Steve Wagner. Goaltenders John Curry and Brad Thiessen were  also assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Out of the 11 cuts six of the players will have to clear waivers by Thursday at noon before they can join the Baby Pens… Those players who need to clear are Conner, Curry, Potter, Sterling, Wagner, and Wallace.

The Penguins have 30 players remaining on their roster after the cuts.   18 forwards; 10 defensemen; and two goaltenders.

I fully expect a team like Philly or Minnesota take a chance on John Curry as both teams have keepers who are hurt and Curry is coming off of a decent training camp.  Also, the New York Islanders could potentially be a candidate for a player like Brent Sterling after losing Kyle Okposo until December. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Notes and Observations from...Section 210

Hey all you dedicated Pens Nation readers. My name is Robbie Naugle and I am the new Team Features writer for the site. After all the games I will be posting a piece called "Notes and Observations from..." I will also have other posts throughout the season regarding the team or events surrounding the team that are of importance. I hope you enjoy my work. Let's Go Pens!!!!

When deciding on what to do for my first post I thought what better way to start then telling everyone about my first experience at the brand new Consol Energy Center. So here we go. These are my notes and observations from the Pens pre-season game against Columbus.

Let's start with the arena itself...
  • The place is more than fantastic. The place is immaculate.
  • There is so much more space to walk and the bathrooms are massive.
  • Definitely doesn't feel as big as the Mellon.
  • There is not one bad seat in the place.
  • Getting around can be troublesome since there aren't many maps to help.
  • Noise is a huge issue here...for the opposing team.
  • The new scoreboard is so big it almost distracts you from the game.
  • So nice that the teams no longer have to cross to reach the locker rooms.
  • The food vendors are still working out the kinks. Long, slow lines. Should improve with time.
  • The nachos are still amazing and RC Cola could really catch on.
  • Yes, the prices are still very high but the food is very good.
  • This building is the premier arena in the NHL and no one comes close.
  • One negative: After the game I felt rushed out of the building. I wanted to look around but the ushers kept directing us out. Hopefully they loosen up.
Now let's take a look at the game...
  • The Pens hit a homerun with the "Ultimate Home Game."
  • The Pens were definitely still working off some rust. They seemed to get their groove in the second period.
  • Columbus could be a surprise team out West.
  • This make shift Pens team could win 40 games.
  • Fleury was the biggest bright spot for the team. He played out of his mind. If he plays like that consistently, watch out.
  •  Brett Sterling and Eric Tangradi both played solid games. 
  • Tyler Kennedy had a great game.
  • Steve Mason looks to be returning to rookie year form.
  • Arron Asham can shoot the puck and isn't afraid to get dirty.
  • Crosby showed no signs of pain or problems with that hip flexor.
  • Brooks Orpik looked like he was playing against a bunch of kids. 
  • Malkin looks like the Malkin we know and love.
  • Don't know if it was the refs or lack of discipline, but the Pens couldn't stay out of the box.
  • On that note, the penalty kill was solid all night.
  • Good to see the Pens driving the net and getting dirty goals.
  • After showing rust in the first period the Pens turned it on. This team can hang with anyone.
  • It's great to have hockey back.
Miscellaneous notes and observations...
  • Pascal Dupuis is the most under-rated pick up by Ray Shero in his time as GM.
  • Michalek will be worth every dollar they pay him.
  • Rick Nash is still an elite player. He deserves a better team.
  • Nash may be elite but that didn't stop him from being beat down by Malkin.
  • Kris Letang can fight too.
  • He may not have the most talent but no one will ever give more than Tyler Kennedy.
  • Brett Sterling deserves a chance. 
  • Godard should be the most feared enforcer in the league.
  • Watch out for Marc-Andre Fleury.
  • I believe Tangradi will be on the opening day roster.
Fantasy Tip of the Week...
  • If you're looking for a solid reserve goalie for your team consider Steve Mason. Kid could have a solid year.
That's all I got for now folks. Hope you enjoyed my first article. I'm so grateful to have this opportunity. I look forward to reading your comments. Thank you all for reading and as always, Go Pens!!!!

Join The Fight

Feel inclined to post these, as everyone knows October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and the support of this disease is evident around the world of sports. In the NFL players are permitted to wear pink armbands, shoes and gloves. Closer to our hearts here at Pens Nation, in the NHL, players warm-up with pink sticks and auction them off and wear stickers on their helments, as well as all broadcasters and front office staff wearing pink ties. So I'm posting iPhone wallpapers that I made for this occasion. Only my sports teams are included so if you would like one made for you just tweet me @PensNation_Dan.






Friday, September 24, 2010

NHL in a Nutshell- It's a Hard Knock Life

"Have some Free Candy!"

Sorry this post is late. In the future I'll have these up in the afternoon but this week has been a homework week from hell and this is the first chance I've had today to sit down and write. As a result, my brain is as soft as Chris Osgood's stomach.

The Penguins won their first game in Consol Energy Center! Woohoo! So what if it doesn't count for anything besides giving Red Wings fans an excuse to whine about Brooks Orpik? It's better than the alternative. The other NHL news this week features a few contract extensions and two very exciting pieces of off-ice news:

On-Ice:

-I haven't/won't be able to attend any Pens training camps or preseason games, but from what I've been hearing from my fellow Pens Nation writers and other Pens sources, it sounds like Brett Sterling has been having a unexpectedly impressive camp/preseason and may have a legitimate shot at making the Pens final roster. It's always nice to see a guy earn a roster slot with hard work and dedication so I've been rooting for him for that, and because he and I are the same height (5'7"). I still can't get over that. I probably should have by now.

Mark Letestu has also been having a noteworthy camp/preseason, and of course we can't count out Big Dog Eric Tangradi. I can't wait to see who makes the final cut. In my opinion, roster battles are the best and most exciting part about preseason, especially when you have the depth the Penguins have. It's another example of how well Shero has done with free agent acquisitions and draft picks.

-For those of you stressing over Crosby leaving the game early on Wednesday because of his hip flexor, take a chill pill. He practiced yesterday and is fine. He's not playing against Columbus right now, but few starters are, so relax. There's nothing wrong with Sid.

-Chris Drury, on the other hand (pun NOT intended, I swear!), was not so lucky. The Rangers captain broke his left index finger Monday during a training-camp scrimmage and will miss all of preseason and the first four regular season games. I don't know which is more painful (sorry)- missing time because I've such a small injury or the fact that in happened in a training camp scrimmage.

-It was a good week for goalies. The Capitals signed goalie Michal Neuvirth signed an extension that will go into effect in 2011-12 and pay his $1.15. million annually. Neuvirth is supposedly giving Varlamov a run for his money (I don't know what is up with me and all these unintentional bad puns today!) for the starting job. Also, the Columbus Blue Jackets gave goalie Chris Mason a two-year contract extension, worth $2.6 million in 2011-12 and $3.2 million in 2012-13. I'm not NHL GM material, but wouldn't it make more sense to make the goalie prove he can bounce back from his sophomore slump and earn the Jackets a playoff spot, then extend his contract?

-An even bigger huh? signing took place in Washington. Caps GM George McPhee signed on Tom Poti for another two years and $5.75 million ($3.5 million this year, $3 million next year, a cap hit of $2.87 million). I have a friend here at school who is a diehard, non-bandwagon Caps fan and whenever we watch Pens-Caps games together, it seems like every other swear word out of her mouth is directed at Poti. Her initial take on the extension: "I have to put up with him turning the puck over for two more freaking years? Really?"

-The Wild's sellout streak came to an end on Wednesday night. Before that preseason game against the Blues, the Wild had had a 409 game home sellout streak. There were still more more people at the preseason game than at the average Thrashers regular season game (16,219), so the Wild still have something to be grateful for, in the same way all of you should be grateful that I resisted posting a terrible Wild pun in this paragraph.

Off-Ice:

-Very exciting news came from the Blues today. Mandi Schwartz, the sister of St. Louis's 2010 draft pick Jarden Schwartz, has received the stem cell transplant she needed. Since December 2008, Mandi Schwartz has been battling acute myeloid leukemia (cancer located in her bone marrow that affects her ability to produce healthy blood cells). The hope is that the transplant will establish a new immune system within a month. We at Pens Nation all wish Mandi Schwartz a speedy and full recovery, and I'll continue to have updates on her condition when I hear them. Everybody keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

-The other very exciting, if much more shallow, news is this week's title story; HBO is finally doing a hockey version of "Hard Knocks", featuring the Penguins and Capitals! HBO is will be filming four episodes of a mini-series called "24/7 PENGUINS/CAPITALS: ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC" starting December 22, leading up to the 2011 Winter Classic, giving us an uncensored look at the two teams on and off the ice. Ovechkin has hinted that there will be Russian profanity so I'm hoping he and Geno start cussing each other out in Russian, and more than one Bruce Boudreau/Rex Ryan comparison has been made. Guys like Max Talbot, Matt Cooke and Arron Asham will be highly entertaining to listen to uncensored. All the players, on both sides, are pumped from what I've heard. I can't wait to watch this show. Not to mention, the exposure is good for the NHL and given the possibility of upcoming NFL and/or NBA lockouts, the timing could be perfect too.

Official "24/7" logo

-Last but certainly not least, Stars forward Brad Richards visited the pediatric unit in Queen Elizabeth's Hospital on Prince Edward Island, and donated $500,000 to the unit. Richards made the donation in honor of his best friend and cousin Jamie Reynolds, who died of a brain tumor in 1989 at age seven (Richards was nine). Not only did Richards spend time with the kids and give them photo/autograph opportunities, but he also bought Dallas Stars intrasquad game tickets for the kids and their families so they could attend the game. Kudos to Brad Richards for this wonderful act of charity. The more examples we see of professional athletes giving back to the community, the better.

Only 13 more days until games start to count! Hockey season is almost here! (Even if it was 90+ degrees F outside today... *gag*). Let's Go Pens!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Training Camp Roster

A couple of familiar names appear on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's first announced training camp roster, Drew Fata and Pascal Morency

Fata, brother of former Pittsburgh Penguin, Rico Fata, played with the WBS Penguins and Wheeling Nailers between 2003-2006 and Morency played with WBS and Wheeling from 2004-2006.  Both players will bring an edge with them to training camp for sure as they are both known to mix it up a little.  

One one player that will be hard to miss on the ice will be Taylor Vichorek being 6'8" 245 pounds. It'll be interesting to see if he has the wheels to keep up with the play. That is a huge size for anybody, let alone a forward. 

Training Camp Roster (As of September 23, 2010)
FORWARDS (17)  
  Mikael Bedard 
  Jesse Boulerice
  Chris Collins  
  Joey Haddad  
  Andrew Lord  
  David Marshall 
  Pascal Morency
  Andrew Orpik  
  Nick Petersen 
  Marc Rechlicz
  Ryan Schnell  
  Zach Sill  
  Alex Smigelski 
  Ben Street
  Keven Veilleux 
  Taylor Vichorek 
  Geoff Walker  

DEFENSEMEN (9)  
  Kyle Bushee
  Jason DeSantis
  Drew Dobson  
  Drew Fata  
  Peter Merth 
  Derek Peltier 
  Carl Sneep 
  Eric Tallent 
  Nick Tuzzolino 

GOALTENDERS (2)  
  Nevin Hamilton 
  Patrick Killeen 

Wheeling Nailers Try Outs
Played with WBS or Wheeling Last Season

This Week In Pens Nation - Home Is Where Letang Is

I'm sorry if this post is late, but I'm still trying to pick my jaw up off the concourse!

Tuesday, September 22, 2010 I had the honor of attending the first game ever at Consol Energy Center. It was one of if not the most amazing experience of my life. Not only did I get to wait in the Student Rush line for 5 hours for $25 tickets into the game, but I hung out with someone amazing people from different colleges around Western PA. I now know that the Student Rush line is more then a bunch of college kids waiting to watch a hockey game, it is a great way to meet new friends. From 1:30 in the afternoon until the gates opened at 5:30 (and the thunderstorm at 4), I sat in sheer(good eye Meg) bliss at what was happening, waiting in line to help the Penguins turn the page from Mellon Arena to Consol Energy Center. My cousin and I recieved tickets to section 115 (had to be 185 dollar seats), we looked around at the sight in front of us, got together with other rushers in our section, and even got on the jumbotron!

This game didn't mean anything in the standings for the Penguins, but it meant something to us. It was a game that almost never came, and as I wound down to a 5-1 win for the Guins, it felt like home, and in reality is home, home of our Penguins, for good. It is hard to put the Consol experience into words but hopefully this will do some justice.



Welcome Home Pens Nation

...and It Cuts Like a Knife

The first round of cuts were made today by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Returning to the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League are forwards Jesse Boulerice, Chris Collins, Joey Haddad, Nick Petersen, Ryan Schnell, Zach Sill, Alex Smigelski, Kevin Veilleux, and Geoff Walker. 

Defensemen who were sent Wilkes Barre/Scranton today include Jason DeSantis, Derek Peltier and Carl Sneep. Goaltender Patrick Killeen was also sent to WBS.
  
Meanwhile, forward Tyler Brown was sent back to the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League and goaltender Alex Pechurskiy was sent to the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League.


Wilkes-Barre opens up camp this Saturday, so you can expect more cuts to be made by then as well as some camp invites, because 13 guys are not enough to have a full camp. 

Preseason Game #1- Detroit Red Wings-1 @ Penguins-5


Tonight, I had the pleasure of taking in the first Pens game at the CONSOL Energy Center. Sweet lord, it's unreal.

Now, generally preseason is garbage and, in the grand scheme of things, tonight was no exception. However, on the way home I heard that this was the largest preseason game attendance in Penguins history. 18,087 tickets sold (Boy do the Pens love the number 87). It was so cool to see a Penguins home game attendance be over 18,000.

There was something a little more special about this preseason game. Yeah, it was the first game at the CONSOL Energy Center, but it was also against the Detroit Red Wings, who have become a big rival of the Penguins.

The guys who suited up with black and gold sweaters on obviously wanted to perform for the home crowd. The Guys in white and red obviously were channeling their inner-Detroit Lions circa 2008. They just didn't give a crap.

Let's get recapping, for the first time ever.



1st PERIOD...

It didn't take long for the Pens to get things started, as Hillary Duff followed up on a wrist shot and smacked the puck home only 1:21 into the game. I promise that's the last time I'll refer to Mike Comrie by his lesser halve's name.

***Sidetrack*** Chris Osgood sucks.

Who would have though a couple months ago that the first goal scored in CEC history would be by Mike Comrie.

Some more stuff happened, yada yada yada. (It's preseason and I was at the game, what do you want?)

Then... Sid.

You knew Sidney Crosby was going to do something. He buries one 7:29 into the first, giving the Pens a 2-0 lead. Again, the goal was a rebound which seemed to be hit out of midair while Osbaad was trying to check what time Dexter starts Sunday on his iPhone or something.

***Again, Osgood sucks.***

Somewhere in there was a Power Play for the Pens in which they looked somewhat decent despite not lighting the lamp.

Kris Letang still can't get the puck close to the net though. Gotta be kidding me.

A couple minutes go by and Ryan Craig storms down the left side and rips one past Osdick.
I have no idea how Osgood didn't save it...........












Wait... yes I do.

Soon after it became 3-0, some guy named Downey decided he should try to fight Jesse Boulerice.
Bad move.
There's no politically correct way to describe what Boulerice did to Downey other than a complete ass-whoopin'. Downey even started to cover his face toward the end of the fight so he wouldn't get hit before he fell to the ice.

Any guy that drops the gloves and beats someone from the Red Wings down in a preseason game is automatically a favorite player of mine.

Before the whistle, Brooks Orpik almost ends Johan Franzen's life by going knee-to-knee on Franzen's surgically-repaired ACL.

The 14 Red Wings fans used their dial up connection via AOL to get online and start whining about how Orpik made a dirty hit and junk. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. Supposedly Franzen is ok, but who knows. Todd Bertuzzi, of all people, decides to stand up against a player who dished out a possible cheap shot.

Five penalties were called at 18:17 into the first, including an early shower call on Orpik. Game misconduct. Peace, Brooksie.

HORN.
..........

2ND PERIOD...

A couple penalties are called on Detroit at the start of the 2nd. Then, at 9:29 into the 2nd, the Wings strike on a goal from Ruslan Salei. This douche, scenester-looking dude next to me, wearing a brown shirt, jumps up and starts going crazy when the Wings score. He started wooing like Ric Flair on cocaine.

He became a marked man from there on out.

While scenester was still trying to figure out if he's hit puberty yet or not, the Pens bang home a 4th goal at 13:28 as Brett Sterling lights the lamp off of two ridiculous passes from Pascal Dupuis, who put the puck between his legs and passed it to Sid, who tic-tack-toed it across to Sterling Silver for the lamp-lighter.

Needless to say, brown shirt from the D didn't have much to say. Especially when people (myself possibly included) started mimicking his idiotic goal celebration.

Less than two minutes later, Osgood craps his Depends and gives up a 5th goal to the Pens. Ryan Craig puts the Pens up for good.

Brown shirt douche was completely shocked. So funny.

HORN AGAIN.
.........

3RD PERIOD...

Honestly I have no idea what happened in the 3rd. Fleury got replaced by Brad Thiessen, I got some nachos with pulled pork on them (whoa), brown shirt and his mom retired to their bedroom.

That's about it.

No scoring. A couple unsportsmanlike penalties and some other minors were called.

The CEC's first hockey crowd started to clear out. People were generally in a great mood during and after the game.

GAME. SET.

Good Lord I love that video.

5-1, kids.
........

RANDOM THOUGHTS...

- I thought Brett Sterling, Ryan Craig and Mark Letestu were very impressive.
- Zybnek Michalek blocked a ton of shots and was everywhere on the defensive side of things. Really like his game. Heard someone describe him as the new Rob Scuderi, except more mobile. I completely agree.
- Sidney Crosby is possibly in mid-season form playing-wise, but did get a little banged up and didn't play in the 3rd. It apparently isn't serious at all though.
- Evgeni Malkin looked pretty good despite not recording a point. He almost put in this sickening goal that he shot with his stick between his legs.


- Fleury looked sharp, allowing one goal on 21 shots. We all know he needs to play better this season and he started off on a good note.

- CONSOL is so awesome. I do have a couple gripes though. Nothing too major, but just some things to think of when you go.
1. If you have size 10+ shoes (I'm a 13), you're going to find that the upper-level seats don't provide much feet room.
2. The concourses during intermission in the upper-level were so ridiculously crowded in some parts because of people waiting in concession lines that you couldn't even get back to your seat.
3. For some reason, the Penguins have decided to go with some little noise after goal-scorers and assisting players are announced. I hated it and the people around me weren't crazy about it either.

- Things I loved about CONSOL.
1. The walk to the arena is so much better. No matter where you park, you won't have to climb some crazy hill when it's 15 degrees just to get in the building. You can go in on different levels. Plus, you have tons of escalators throughout the building to get you to your seats.
2. The video board. It's so clear and gigantic. However, it isn't at all distracting to the eye while watching the game.
3. It is going to get loud. The goal horn, the fans, they all sound really loud in there. It's awesome.
4. A few years ago we were as good as gone to Kansas City or some other joke of a city. We're in Pittsburgh still, won a Cup and have an amazingly beautiful and outstanding new building which, you will experience within 30 minutes of being there, already feels like home.
..........

Don't expect these lengthy recaps for the rest of the preseason. I'll try to get something up, but since some games aren't on TV and video posting on the Pens website seems to be a bit slow, who knows.

Thanks for reading my first post.

Let's Go Pens.




Monday, September 20, 2010

The Decision

Don't worry hockey fans, this has nothing to do with LeBron James, the Miami Heat, or basketball at all for that matter. I just wanted to inform everyone that I've decided that from now on my weekly feature, "NHL in a Nutshell", will now be posted on Friday afternoon rather than Sunday. It's much more convenient for my schedule, and the posts won't conflict with the NFL games this way. As much as I know everyone enjoys my writing, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that my posts can't exactly compete with the NFL.

From now on, you'll be getting "NHL in a Nutshell" two days earlier than before! Hooray! When the season starts up, I'll also be doing a weekly player feature (I'm still figuring out exactly how those are going to work). Be sure to keep an eye out!

Finally, I'd like to congratulate Penguins GM Ray Shero on his well-deserved five-year contract extension. Shero is one of the best GMs in hockey and has already brought one division title, two Eastern Conference Championships, and one Stanley Cup to Pittsburgh. Some naysayers point out that he had it easy coming in to Pittsburgh, when the team already had Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. I, in return, would like to point out that a) he's done a fantastic job in building around Sid and Geno by bringing in the right role players, and b) superstars alone don't win playoff series or championships. Just ask Caps fans. Shero has also locked up the Penguins core players (Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Fleury, Orpik, Letang) long-term, which will keep the team competitive for years to come.

So congratulations Ray Shero! We here at Pens Nation appreciate everything you've done for our beloved Pens and I know we're not the only ones who were thrilled to hear about the extension. I'm sure I speak for all Pens fans when I say to keep up the good work!

P.S. Preseason games start this Wednesday folks! Hockey season is almost here! Get PUMPED!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Camp Disco 2010 - Day 2

As I learned yesturday, its a pain in the ass to post these pics one at a time, so to see today go here now!....


Go Pens!

NHL in a Nutshell- Oh Captain, My Captain


Hey Pens fans! The leaves are changing, the days are getting shorter, and training camp is underway... it's beginning to look a lot like hockey season!

Obviously, the most important and exciting news around the NHL this week was the start of training camps. That isn’t to say there wasn’t other important and exciting news. A few captain“C”s changed hands (jerseys?), some key players were resigned, and someone even rose from the dead! Sort of.

On-Ice:

-The NHL's Board of Governors officially approved the rule concerning tiebreakers. This rule means that shootout wins will no longer count towards the tiebreaking procedure, putting the focus on regulation and overtime wins. This rule was proposed back in August and it was finally approved this past Tuesday, as was expected. I suppose that's why there hasn't been much of a reaction from the hockey community. Still, I expected there would be more excitement from hockey fans at the rule change. I guess the start of training camp trumps all.

-Evgeni Malkin has verbally confirmed that he will be playing wing this year, even with Jordan Staal sidelined for an estimated 5-6 weeks. It's expected that the two will reunite on the second line when Staal returns, but until then it'll be interesting to see who will center Malkin's line. Newcomer Mike Comrie has been centering a line with Malkin and Eric Tangradi at training camp, although too much shouldn't be read into that just yet.

-This week's title story; Roberto Luongo is no longer the captain of the Vancouver Canucks. Team president/GM Mike Gillis announced Monday that Luongo has made the decision to relinquish the captaincy. Luongo has this to say via Twitter:

"Huge relief to have the C (and media) off my chest. Time to focus on what's really important, like what to eat for breakfast, and stopping pucks."

Right now the candidates to wear Vancouver's "C" appear to be Hart Trophy/Art Ross winner Henrik Sedin and Selke Trophy finalist Ryan Kesler. Kesler is the popular choice among fans.

-The other captaincy related news is that the Montreal Canadiens have named Brian Gionta the new captain for the Canadiens after going captain-less last season. Gionta will be the 28th captain of the historic franchise, but only the second American to have that honor. Rochester, NY represent!!!!! For those of you wondering who was the only other American born Habs captain, I'll give you a hint. Last year he was the only active player from the 1981 NHL entry draft and he has often been jokingly called a zombie. Anyone who guessed Chris Chelios (and I hope everyone did) guessed right.

-Glen Sather actually made a signing that doesn't make Rangers fans want to repeatedly hit themselves over the head with a golf club. Marc Staal is going to be a Ranger for the next five years, for a pretty $3.975 million per season. The Rangers are now $4 million over the salary cap. Who, oh who can they send to Hartford to get under the salary cap?

-The Ducks won the standoff with Bobby Ryan. The free agent winger was reportedly seeking a three-year deal, while the Ducks were hoping to sign him for five. Ryan agreed to a five-year, $25.5 million dollar deal, after talking to fellow Anaheim stars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry about their futures with the Ducks. Ryan has also made it clear that he wasn't looking to make more money than either Getzlaf or Perry (both are on five year deals with cap hits of $5.325 million per season, while Ryan will make $3.25 million for this first season). The deal does not contain either a no-movement or no-trade clause. This signing is a huge win for the Ducks, who now have their three biggest offensive stars locked up and can focus on the upcoming season instead of worrying about getting Ryan signed throughout training camp. They also now have the chance to tinker with the possibility of Ryan making the switch to center. Ryan didn't get the deal he wanted, but he's getting paid a pretty sum and isn't complaining about money. As a result, his Twitter account is still active.

-The Thrashers signed two new players over the week. One was forward Nigel Dawes, who signed a two-way deal for one year, $600,000. ($105,000 in the AHL.) The other was restricted free agent winger Nicklas Bergfors agreed to a one-year, $900,000 deal. Bergfors was sent to the Thrashers this past February as a part of the Ilya Kovalchuk deal. As a rookie last year, Bergfors scored 13 of his 21 goals in a Thrashers uniform last year and ended the season with 44 points. Not exactly Kovalchuk-like numbers, but a breakout sophomore year could make Bergfors a big contributer on offense for Atlanta, and maybe he could score a long-term deal next year. I doubt it would be a blatant cap violation 15 year deal, though.

-Speaking of Kovy, the Russian sniper now has a new position. The Devils had an overabundance of left wingers, so new head coach John MacLean announced yesterday that Kovalchuk will be making the switch to right wing. He will be playing on a line with center Travis Zajac and left wing Zach Parise. MacLean said that Kovalchuk had no problem with the change in position. (Unlike another $100 million dollar man.) If Kovalchuk, Parise and Zajac can develop chemistry, that line has potential to be one of the most lethal in the NHL. Anyone else a little extra grateful to Ray Shero for the Pens' offseason defensive acquisitions?

-The Stars made two key resignings of their own this week. Jamie Neal and Matt Niskanen both signed on for another two years. Neal's deal will count for $2.25 million against the cap this year, and $3.5 million in 2011-12. Niskanen's consists of a $1.25 million cap hit this year and $1.75 million next year. Hopefully these signings will placate all the diehard hockey fans in Dallas. Wait...

-Veteran defenseman Andreas Lilja is attending the Sharks training camp for a tryout. He had been offered a tryout with the Red Wings, but spurned his former team in favor of the Sharks. I thought this was worth mentioning because the Red Wings now only have five players over age 35 on their roster, an all-time low for the franchise.

-It's no secret that the Bruins have been looking to trade center Marc Savard this offseason, so there were some that predicted the 33-year-old would not be on ice for Bruins training camp this season. Well, anyone who made that prediction will turn out to be right, but for the wrong reason. Savard is suffering from post-concussion syndrome symptoms, though Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli would not reveal the exact symptoms. Savard has not been working out for the past few weeks because of his ailment and will miss training camp. There is no predictable timeline for his return. Looks like Matt Cooke is up for another rude welcome next time the Pens play Boston.

-Eric Belanger is now a Phoenix Coyote, at least for one year. Belanger signed a one-year, $750,000 deal with the Coyotes, a good value deal for them, but Belanger has a bone to pick with the Capitals, his former team. He thought he had reached a verbal agreement with the team, but it was withdrawn for some reason. Belanger was very publicly bitter about the whole situation, saying that Capitals had crossed the line. Belanger's anger is very understandable, considering he thought he had a deal in place but now has to move his family across the country and re-enroll his two daughters in a new school. Even though a verbal agreement is different from a signed contract, the Caps are going to look like the villains in this whole mess.

Off-Ice:

-Happy 40th birthday to Dan Bylsma! Have a fantastic day and keep our boys in black and gold plugging away! (Unintentional rhymes rock.)

-As I'm sure everyone's heard by now, the Penguins have a new slogan; "Destiny Has A New Home". It's fitting given the opening of the beautiful new Consol Energy Center, and a step up from "Defy Ordinary". Also, James Santilli, the Pens Vice President of marketing, stated that "A Great Day For Hockey" will still be a part of the marketing campaign.

-There was a report on Friday that former NHL coach Pat Burns, who's currently battling lung cancer, had died. This was news to Pat Burns, who is still very much alive. To verify that he is still alive and kicking, Burns called TSN'S Bob McKenzie, who tweeted what Burns told him on the phone:

"Pat Burns just called me. Seriously. Here's what he said. 'Here we go again. They're trying to kill me before I'm dead. I come to Quebec to spend some time with my family and they say I'm dead. I'm not dead, far f------ from it. They've had me dead since June. Tell them I'm alive. Set them straight.'"
Wow. Sounds like Burns is still alive and kicking huh? This situation shows how social media and the desire to be the first to report breaking news can backfire in the worst way. Today's media is more face-paced than ever, thanks to social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, which allows news to be announced faster than ever. As a result, there is an increased desire among media to be the first source to break a huge story, and if you're not on the social media bandwagon to instantly discuss a breaking issue, you get left in the dust. This in itself isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's just that in situation like this, when a media outlet is more concerned with reporting a story than checking its facts, that things get ugly. I mean, the TV, radio and newspapers that reported Pat Burns' death couldn't wait until the family announced it had happened before sending the Twitterverse into a frenzy? Is being "first" by a few minutes that much more important than a man's life? Rarely does anyone ever remember which source is the first to report a story, but CTV Ottawa and Team 1040 will always be remembered as the first to misreport Burns' death (even if they deleted their original tweets that said he had died). Just some food for thought.

-Ottawa is officially hosting the 2012 All-Star game in Scotiabank Place. It seems only fitting to have the All-Star game shift to Canada the year after it's going to be hosted in Carolina.

-Going back to Kovalchuk again for a minute, the NHL came down hard on the Devils for the original 17 year, $102 million contract Kovy had signed. The Devils are being fined $3 million for attempting to circumvent the salary cap with the aforementioned deal, although the $3 million will not go against the salary cap, as part of the deal the NHLPA and NHL reached last month as part of an amendment for dealing with long-term contracts. The Devils will also have to forfeit a first-round draft pick sometime between 2011 and 2014, and a third-round pick in 2011. New Jersey gets to pick the year they give up the aforementioned first-round pick and they have to decide which year they give up the pick by the time the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals have ended.

-Good news for the Phoenix Coyotes. A potential buyer, who is as yet unnamed, has deposited $25 million in an escrow account. Your eyes do not deceive you; $25 MILLION. That's how much the NHL had demanded to cover potential losses for the upcoming season while looking for someone to buy the team. The potential buyer requested anonymity during the ongoing negotiations. (Insert Winnipeg Jets joke and/or southern hockey franchise joke here.) There is a rumor going around about the identity of the potential buyer, but in wake of the Pat Burns situation, I'm not going to say who it is.

-This isn't direct NHL news but I thought it deserved to be mentioned; Penn State has decided to create a Division I hockey team. Given the size and name of the college, this is great addition for NCAA hockey. There are a lot of details left to be worked out, but there is now talk of a Big Ten Conference could be formed for NCAA hockey, given that Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Minnesota and now Penn State all have Division I hockey teams. There are already great rivalries between these teams because of football/basketball, and those rivalries do spill over to hockey. If the Big Ten cable TV network (a big cash cow) would start showing hockey on nights where there's no football or basketball being played, the future could be very bright indeed for American hockey.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

2010-2011 WBS Penguins Free-Agent Acquisitions


With the 2010-2011 season rapidly approaching, what better time to get to know the new potentially new players in the WBS Penguins system.

Chris Collins5’8” | 202 lbs | Forward | Shoots Left |
Collins spent his last two professional seasons playing in Germany with the Augsberg Panthers.  During those two seasons he posted 79 points (37G, 42A) and 150 penalty minutes over 80 games.  Despite playing the past two seasons overseas, Collins is no stranger to the AHL. As a member of the Providence Bruins, Collins notch 43 points (24G, 19A) in 99 regular-season games from 2006-2008.

Ryan Craig – 6’2” | 220 lbs | Center | Shoots Left |
You can never have enough depth at center, Shero adding more depth down the middle by signing Craig to a two-way deal in July. Craig spent the last 4 seasons in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. Craig is no stranger to the NHL either with 32 goals and 31 assists in 184 NHL games. Last season Craig played in 73 games scoring 23 goals and added 22 assists with Norfolk in the AHL.

Jason DeSantis – 5’11” | 185 lbs | Defense | Shoots Right |
DeSantis played two years with the Philadelphia Phantons before he played overseas last season with Liberec Bili Tygri HC in the Czech Republic.  Last season with Liberec Bili Tygri HC DeSantis recorded five points (2G, 3A) and 10 penalty minutes in 14 games.

Andrew Hutchinson – 6’2” 198 lbs | Defense | Shoots Right |
Hutchinson was major contributor to the Texas Stars last season.
He posted nine goals and 38 points during the regular season and was a big factor in the Calder Cup playoffs where he posted 16 points (5G, 11A ) in 21 games during their Calder Cup Finals run.  Hutchinson also has 135 games played in the NHL between Nashville, Carolina, Tampa Bay, and Dallas.

Andrew Orpik6’3” | 200 lbs | Forward | Shoots Right |
By now you probably realized that Andrew Orpik is Brooks Orpiks’ brother. Beyond that you probably don’t know much else about him.  Orpik spent most of last season with the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL where he posted 22 points (10G, 12A) and 38 penalty minutes in 35 games. Orpik posted five points in 22 games in the AHL last season with the San Antonio Rampage, (1G, 4A).

Corey Potter – 6’2” | 195 lbs | Defense | Shoots Right |
One of many veteran depth signings, Potter is one of 3 free-agent acquisitions who spent time in the NHL. Potter played in eight career NHL games with the New York Rangers, recording two points (1G, 1A). Potter also has plenty of AHL experience playing in 246 games and posting 102 points (21G, 81A)

Brett Sterling – 5’7” | 175 lbs | Left Wing | Shoots Left |
His numbers don’t lie…
263 points (144 goals, 119 assists) in 254 AHL games. Sterling is a HUGE offseason signing for an AHL team. In WBS, he may be the biggest named free agent signing ever in the history of the team.  Sterling is another off season pickup who has NHL experience in his resume as he played in 19 games with Atlanta over two seasons notching four points (2G, 2A).

Ben Street – 5’11” | 185 lbs | Center | Shoots Left |
Street completed his collegiate career last year with the University of Wisconsin. He put up 30 points (14G, 16A) in 43 games for the Badgers

Geoff Walker – 6’3” | 225 lbs | Right Wing | Shoots Right |
Walker split time last season with the Ontario Reign of the ECHL and the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL. Walker has a big frame and a decent wingspan. Last season Walker posted 14 points (5G, 9A) in 37 games with Manchester and 23 points (7G, 16A) in Ontario.



First Ever Practice At CEC - Camp Disco 2010

Here are some pictures from the practice as well as many of the CEC

*I took these on my iPod, so if some are grainy I'm sorry*

































Friday, September 17, 2010

Join the Fight to Memorialize the Igloo!

Making rounds on the internet today has been the idea of the Pensblog and a fellow Pens fan to etch the outline of Mellon Arena into one of the windows facing it at Consol Energy Center.



It has a Facebook group. Many other various Penguins blogs have mentioned it!.

The Igloo is scheduled for demolition in February, help memorialize the Igloo!

Here it is being mentioned on the Mark Madden Show

Nailers Bolster Blue Line with Trade

The Wheeling Nailers bolstered their blue line today by making a trade with the Alaska Aces for the rights to talented defensemen Nick Tuzzolino in exchange for future considerations.

Tuzzolino, 24, is known for his hard-nosed play, racking up 251 penalty minutes in 131 games the past two seasons with the Aces. However, Tuzzolino also has some high-scoring prowess for a defensemen to go along with hit grit. Last season he notched 9 goals and 22 assists in 70 games.

More Nailer news after the jump...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

This Week In Pens Nation - Hard to Say Goodbye

Hellloooo Nation, I'm back with what's happening this week. If you haven't heard by now, Pens C Jordan Staal will miss the beginning of the regular season recovering from surgery


Off the ice, Thursday the SEA voted to demolish the Igloo starting in February. Crews will begin to remove asbestos from the building then will set an auction date. As a kid who spent his entire childhood with Mellon Arena, this is a blow, it is a blow to all Pens fans who have gone to the arena for games. However, dispite our love for the Old Gal it's time to let it go. She has had a great run, saw 3 Stanley Cup Final series and was even the set of several movies (and that bust with Van-Damme).

Dispite numerous attempts to save the arena from demise from groups like "Reuse The Igloo" the hammer and ultimately the wrecking ball were lowered on Mellon's fate.

"No one is coming forward that has development issues here and saying, 'Here's a plan that will make it better to go the other way that won't cost the public anymore money.' My concern is that, what's best for the public," said SEA Chairman Wayne Fontana.

So it is with heavy hearts, that we bid farewell to Lady Mellon, soak it in as much as you can whenever you make your way to Consol Energy Center these next few months. Thanks for the Memories, Goodbye


Mellon Arena 1961-2010

Read the full article here