Off-Season Buzz: What’s Next for Penguins Aging Core & Revamping roster

 

What’s Next for the Penguins The organization is stunned at what played out in Toronto this week. While it was a case of drinking too much of their own kool-aid, several members of the organization believed coming out of the two week training camp, the Montreal series was going to be nothing more than a tune-up for an eventual deep run. High-ranking members were giddy going into the tournament that the four-month layoff gave the Penguins core a significant advantage in this tournament. Other than Sidney Crosby, no Penguin among their core met or played above expectations against the Habs. Evgeni Malkin was a complete dog in the tournament. Malkin was certainly in the biggest disappointment category for the Penguins against Montreal and just a four game sample or not, his putrid play in Toronto takes away the bounce-back season he had. It really does. Everything is not about statsRead More »

Pens on the Brink: Dead-Weight, coaching debacle highlight an embarrassing Game 3 loss

 

Penguins on the Brink Meltdown, implosion, embarrassing………. It’s fair to go in any of those directions when describing the Penguins Game 3 loss. Surrendering a 3-1 second period lead against that team was bad enough, but the way the Penguins got owned in the final 30 minutes of play was just something else. It was so reminiscent to what played out in the four game trouncing the New York Islanders gave the Penguins last spring. If Pittsburgh has a quick exit here in the bubble, an even more thorough evaluation from management will come this off-season than last spring where seismic changes were seriously mulled. Last night there was no fight in the Penguins. Listless, soft, however you want to put it. The Canadiens who punted on regular season prior to the NHL shutting down, punched back in Game 3, while the Penguins took the stance in Game 3 theyRead More »

Game 2: Key Developments from Penguins 3-1 win

 

Game 2 Key Developments The Pittsburgh Penguins bounced back in Game 2 with a much stronger 60 minute type of performance to tie the series at 1-1. Mike Sullivan, as expected, stuck with the same lineup and lines, minus some tinkering with the lines here and there as the game progressed. The numbers might not show it as the Penguins and Canadiens played even in driving possession and high danger chances 5-on-5, but the eye test showed the Penguins talent really separated from the Canadiens in much longer stretches compared to Game 1. There was a lot to like from the Penguins’ performance, though, even with Carey Price playing as well as he is, and he was the best player on the ice in Game 2, a 5-4 advantage in Goals For through two games isn’t something the Penguins should be patting themselves on the back for. Ideally with allRead More »

Game 2 Chatter: Penguins to stand pat in goal & More Buzz

 

Game 2: Will Penguins make the obvious adjustments or stand pat? Anything out of a coaches mouth should be taken for a grain of salt at playoff time but Mike Sullivan at least publicly on Sunday sounded like an head coach who was pretty pleased with his clubs’ performance in Game 1, a 3-2 overtime loss to the underdog Montreal Canadiens. Multiple sources close to the situation say what Sullivan put out to the media on Sunday has also been the general feeling inside the room since Game 1’s OT loss. As expected, there will be no changes in goal tonight for Game 2. Matt Murray was always going to have least a two game window and word in the organization is the coaches feel Murray is on the cusp of finding his game as the coaches have been very encouraged with the strides Murray’s taken from the exhibition gameRead More »

What We Learned: How 12th Seeded Habs Took Game 1

 

 What We Learned: 12th Seeded Habs Take Game 1 The NHL has to love this as two No. 12 seeds took Game 1 in the NHL’s qualifying round with the Chicago Blackhawks defeating the No. 5 Edmonton Oilers 6-4 on Saturday Night and the Montreal Canadiens taking the night cap against the Pittsburgh Penguins, as Jeff Petry’s overtime winner at 13:57 of OT has propelled the Montreal Canadiens to a 1-0 series lead. 1st: MTL J. Kotkaniemi (1) 2nd: MTL N. Suzuki (1) 6:53 2nd: PIT S. Crosby (1) 9:55 2nd: PIT B. Rust (1, PPG) 12:34 OT: MTL J. Petry (1), 13:57 Still, there’s two different dynamics between the 5-12 series in the Eastern Conference and Western Conference. Edmonton and Chicago are much closer talent wise than Pittsburgh and Montreal is. Let’s not underplay some of the alarming trends in the Penguins game over the final four-six weeks beforeRead More »

No. 1 For Now, Matt Murray/Penguins on wait and see approach

 

Latest Penguins Buzz The Penguins have not played an actual hockey game in over three months but every Matt Murray save or non-save in PRACTICE has become magnified and scrutinized from the media to the fan base with team scrimmages now getting streamed by the team. Matt Murray is the Penguins short-term goaltender and there’s no discussion on that. Penguin coaches have planned for months that Murray will be in goal when an NHL postseason happens and an extremely poor training camp/practice sessions have not changed that one bit. Health permitted, Murray is starting Game 1 vs the Canadiens and he has at least a two game leash, team insiders sense. It’s most likely going to take the Penguins being in a 0-2 hole with goaltending being problem No. 1 for a goaltending change happens. However, that doesn’t mean Mike Sullivan and the coaching staff are pleased with Murray’s productionRead More »

The Latest on Sidney Crosby

 

Latest Penguins Buzz Sidney Crosby rejoined the team Friday in a full capacity, participating in Friday’s practice as the Penguins are just days away from departing training camp for Toronto. While multiple reports throughout the week cited Crosby’s injury being nothing of a concern, it was enough of a problem to keep Crosby off the ice for a number of days and away from participating in team practices for almost a six day period. Multiple sources say —Penguins coaches have shown their cards— Mike Sullivan and his staff showed where they viewed the personnel when camp started and nothing has changed since. Barring injuries, the lineup is set for start of the qualifying round: Lines Guentzel-Crosby-Sheary Zucker-Malkin-Rust Marleau-McCann-Hornqvist Aston-Reese-Blueger-Tanev D-Pairs Dumoulin-Letang Pettersson-Marino Johnson-Schultz Sam Lafferty has had a great camp, multiple team

Latest Penguins Buzz

 

Latest Pens Buzz — When Nick Bjugstad was not involved in the Jason Zucker trade this past February, it caught the attention of rival executives. Bill Guerin a huge Bjugstad fan, had been coveting Bjugstad for months in talks surrounding Zucker, but Guerin who has an abundance amount of contacts in the Penguins organization, knew what others knew, something was not right with Bjugstad physically and all along teams were aware he was dealing with a back issue. As reported here a number of times, there’s been chatter in league circles since around December that Bjugstad was trying to recover and play through a core muscle/herniated disc type issue that doctors believe was linked to the herniated disc surgery he had in 2015. Jim Rutherford said today Bjugstad had surgery this week that will rule him out for this season. (–The Penguins later this afternoon have now provided official details,Read More »

Penguins optimistic on Jake Guentzel

 

With a return to play still a ways away, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is optimistic left winger Jake Guentzel will be available to play if plays resumes later this summer. “Jake Guentzel’s timeline from shoulder surgery was originally 4-6 months. June 1st will mark 5 months into the recovery. By the time training camps open under the best case scenario’s, Guentzel would be in the six month recovery timeframe. Guentzel has an injury where doctors often feel a full six-seven months is needed to properly heal and there’s been players in the past who have had similar surgeries where it takes them 9-12 months before they feel close to 100% normal again. In his fourth NHL season, Guentzel had 20 goals and 23 assists over 39 games as he’s emerged as one of the premier left wingers in hockey. The addition of Jason Zucker and the likely return of GuentzelRead More »