Lineup Notes vs LAK, Hornqvist Update

Game 59: Kings @ Penguins
LAK Record: 30-21-5, 65 Pts | 1 Point Out of 3rd place in Pacific Division; 3 Points out of final wildcard spot
PIT Record: 32-22-4, 68 Pts | 2nd in Metropolitan Division


Goaltender Matt Murray (20-12-1, 2.91 GAA, .906 SV%) will appear in his 100th career game, making his 95th career start tonight. Murray is 61-24-7 with a .918 save percentage in his first 99 career games. Murray is 6-0-1 in his last 7 starts.

Defenseman Dion Phaneuf acquired by the Los Angeles Kings Tuesday night, is considered unlikely to play due to immigration issues.

Aston-Reese – Crosby – Sheary
Hagelin – Malkin – Rust
Guentzel – Sheahan – Kessel
Simon – Rowney – Reaves

Dumoulin – Letang
Maatta – Schultz
Cole – Oleksiak

Matt Murray in Goal

Hornqvist progressing

Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

Drew Hutchison signs minor league deal with Phillies

A year and a half ago pitcher Drew Hutchison was called by Pirates GM Neal Huntington as being a “very nice complement to Gerrit Cole” for the present and future.

Hutchison for now will be a nice piece for the Philadelphia Phillies to throw batting practice this spring.

Hutchison, 27, who elected free agency in October, is out of the Pirates organization and today inked a minor league contract with the Phillies.

For the Pirates, the Francisco Liriano trade that also included OF Harold Ramirez, catcher Reese McGuire going to Toronto, didn’t exactly pan out for the organization despite the Pirates believing they had something in Hutchison.

Huntington on Hutchison (July 31, 2016): “Our scouts have liked him a lot in the past; we believe his surface numbers are not reflective of the potential,” Huntington said. “We’ve got multiple years of contribution from Drew. He’s a very nice complement to Gerrit Cole and all the young arms that we have in the rotation as we go forward.”

Huntington on Hutchison (August 6, 2016): “Our scouts like his indicators. We love his pitch mix, and love the stuff. We look at Toronto, we would take any four of their primary starters and plug them right in. Then you have a guy like Dickey, who could be an effective starter on many tams. It wasn’t like this guy was pitching behind a bad starting rotation. So, as we looked forward, we see Hutchison being able to help us this year if needed. We are in a transition in our rotation, and he will be given a look.”


Penguins puck pursuit game overwhelms Blues in 3rd period for 4-1 win

Penguins 4 – Blues 1

Matt Murray | 33 Saves, .971 SV%
Sidney Crosby | 2 Goals, 3 SOG, +2
Dominik Simon | 2 Assists, +3,
Bryan Rust | Goal, Assist, 4 SOG, +2
Riley Sheahan | Goal, 4 SOG, +2

The St. Louis Blues held the Penguins to 13 shots through two periods but in a 1-1 game after 40 minutes Pittsburgh’s puck pursuit game overwhelmed the Blues, en route to a 4-1 win.

Bryan Rust scored a breakaway goal 1:05 into the third off a turnover to put the Penguins ahead 2-1 and then Pittsburgh pushed their lead to 3-1 when Dominik Simon picked Alex Pietrangelo’s pocket behind the net and setup Riley Sheahan in front for a goal at 11:13 of the period. The goal was Sheahan’s 6th of the season.

After being demoted to the fourth line over the last couple games, Simon had a strong response game and produced when bumped up in the lineup today.

Simon had 2 helpers, was a +3 and the Penguins best possession player at 56%. Sidney Crosby (52 CF%) was the only other Penguin above 50%.

MR. 400.

Sidney Crosby scored his 400th career goal at 3:13 of the second period and added an empty netter for a 2-goal game.

SHOTS: St. Louis 34 – Pittsburgh 23
5 vs 5 Scoring Chances: St. Louis 27 – Pittsburgh 12
5 vs 5 SAT%: St. Louis – 60.5% | Pittsburgh – 39.5%


Pirates path to competing next couple years in NL Central gets smaller

The MLB off-season continues to get more depressing for Pirate fans.

As the rest of the NL Central gets stronger not just for the present but the future, the Pirates have entered tear-down mode with little path to competing as their prospect system has fallen to the middle of the pack and once regarded top prospects like Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows are no longer the significant trade chips they were a year and half ago to improve the roster dramatically.

While the Pirates stand on the sidelines, the Brewers have made major additions with the signing of Lorenzo Cain and trade for Christian Yelich……. The Cardinals significantly upgraded their roster with the trade for Marcell Ozuna who belted 37 homers and 124 RBIs, and now the Cubs have made their move in signing free-agent ace pitcher Yu Darvish to a six-year, $126 million deal on Saturday night.

The Cubs one of baseballs most prestige franchises landing a top free agent starter doesn’t surprise anyone, but what the Brewers are doing is a major gut punch to Pirate fans.

The Brewers not only signed Cain to a 5 year, $80 million contract, they built their farm system back up over the last couple years and then moved some of their top prospects for five years of control for Yelich. The type of trade the non-homer Pirate fans have been waiting years for the Pirates to do.

What is fascinating with the Brewers is how all-in they are for the next four to five years. They offered Darvish over $100 million and are among the front runners for Jake Arrieta, while reportedly still looking at a Chris Archer trade.

A path to competing in 2018 Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"


Injuries open up opportunity for Teddy Blueger to flash 2-way game

Blueger recalled from WBS

With Tom Kuhnhackl sidelined for a couple weeks and Carter Rowney now joining Kuhnhackl, Patric Hornqvist on the shelf, the Penguins today recalled center Teddy Blueger from Wilkes Barre/Scranton.

Blueger the Penguins second round pick in 2012, has 12 goals and 14 assists and a plus-10 rating in 45 games with Wilkes Barre. His 12 goals rank third on the team.

Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

Blueger had a great second half to last season and fared well in training camp but his offensive production hasn’t taken the next step like the Penguins hoped it would.

However, Blueger has a two-way game ability he brings to the table the Penguins really like.

The skating is a bit questionable against NHL talent, but Blueger has good playmaking skills, see’s the ice well and he’s a player coaches trust.

You can put up him out there in tough defensive matchups and plug him on the penalty kill.

NHL coaches are obsessed with how young players play away from the puck. Blueger will make Mike Sullivan a fan quickly in that area, as he did in camp.

There’s a little more intrigue in Blueger coming up than J.S. Dea getting the call again. Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"


Carnell Lake steps down as DB Coach

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be looking for a new defensive backs coach.

Carnell Lake who has held the position since 2011, has stepped down from the job citing family reasons.


I have decided to return to California to be able to be a part of my youngest son’s last year of high school football.
I want to thank Mr. Art Rooney II and the Rooney family, Coach Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert, the coaching staffs I have worked with throughout my time in Pittsburgh, and the entire Steelers organization. It has been a privilege and honor to play and coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers. I also want to thank all of the players I have coached during my seven years with the team – it truly was an honor to work with them. Finally, I would like to thank Steelers fans for their support and for being the best fans in the NFL during both my time as a player and coach.