Scouts Buzz: On Daniel Sprong, Zach Aston-Reese & Teddy Blueger

 

Latest Prospects Buzz The Pittsburgh Penguins rookie tournament continues today. The games can be followed at pittsburghpenguins.com. Here’s some feedback from one NHL evaluator on three notable Penguin prospects from the tournament: On Daniel Sprong: “He’s too good for that tournament,” the NHL source said. “When he gets open ice down the wing he can push defenders back with speed and you have to be on notice because of the puck skills. A lot to like in the As for the key question marks surrounding Sprong’s game that will dictate how soon he’ll be an NHL regular? “[For me] how quick he gets to the NHL comes down to how he adapts without the puck. He doesn’t play a ‘lick On Teddy Blueger: “He’s on the fast track [to the NHL],” the source said. Two reasons why — “High hockey IQ and two-way play” “Coaches love young guys they canRead More »

Week 1 Steelers – Browns Fallout: Offense proves Training Camp reps matter

 

Week 1: Steelers – Browns Fallout The Pittsburgh Steelers produced a blocked punt returned for a touchdown, seven sacks and one interception vs a rookie quarterback, yet, they only came away with a 21-18 win vs a Cleveland Browns team that went 1-15 last season. If not for Antonio Brown, this could have been a game afterwards where many within the Steelers were saying ‘what the hell happened’. Instead, the Steelers found enough in all three phases to get the ‘W’ and start the season 1-0. The company line from Mike Tomlin and others was taking the high road with the Steelers performance. “Obviously, we’ve got some work to do, but it’s great to do that work with a win in your back pocket,” Tomlin said. “I thought our offensive drives got stopped because of penalties. I thought our defensive drives got extended because of penalties, and when you’re doingRead More »

2017 Primer: Super Bowl Aspirations and Sense of Urgency with Big Ben Window Closing surround Steelers

 

Steelers feel sense of urgency with Big Ben window closing When Ben Roethlisberger dropped his bombshell retirement talk last January on 937 The Fan, many in the Steelers organization just kind of brushed it off as ‘Big Ben being Big Ben.’ Several months later the Steelers have a different view after a number of discussions with Roethlisberger. The Steelers belief that the window with Big Ben is closing can be seen with their increased activity to bolster the roster in recent weeks. Pittsburgh always takes care of their own and that continued Saturday by dishing out a $61 million contract to Stephon Tuitt, but as Roethlisberger has entered mid-30’s, the Steelers have been in the past as being too conservative in not adding enough outside talent. That changed in August. Pittsburgh had a desperate need to add a No. 1 cornerback and landed Joe Haden with 3 year, $27 millionRead More »

Scouts Buzz: Weighing in on Danis Zaripov’s fit with a fast paced Penguins team

 

On Danis Zaripov and the Pittsburgh Penguins The Pittsburgh Penguins are not at the point yet where they can be tabbed as having strong interest in 36 year old winger Danis Zaripov, but the team is doing some homework on the winger after Zaripov’s agent reached out to the Penguins last week to gauge any possible interest. Zaripov, 36, had 15 goals and 22 points in 18 games with Metallurg Magnitogorsk during the playoffs, and 45 points in 56 games during the regular season. Zaripov is considered a legendary Russian player who won the KHL’s Gagarin Cup four times and the world hockey championship three times. Among the biggest strengths in Zaripov’s game is his playmaking ability and hockey smarts, scouts say. He thinks the game at a high level who is “always in the right place,” and can play with high-end players one scout indicated. NHL clubs are intriguedRead More »

Steelers involved in a Cornerback Conundrum on whether to go the inexperience route

 

Steelers Cornerback situation in flux The Pittsburgh Steelers believe they have the most talented team they have had since the 2010 team that went to the Super Bowl and lost to Green Bay. Good arguments can be made they are the clear cut second best team in the AFC. We all know about the talent on offense, but on D, the Steelers feel great about the upside of Bud Dupree/T.J. Watt as starters at the outside backers, with the organization believing Ryan Shazier could be a Defensive Player of the Year candidate if he can stay healthy this season. A healthy Cam Heyward and improving Javon Hargrave on the D-line see’s a more impactful unit but why the Steelers are likely going to be that team that could beat anyone while also lose to anyone is because of the secondary. With Ben Roethlisberger nearing the end of his career, thisRead More »

Latest Pens Chatter: McClement viewed as having strong chance to earn contract

 

Latest Pens Buzz An interesting dynamic on how the Penguins roster has played out this summer is the likelihood of the team reverting away from being a four line scoring team. Some believe the acquisition of tough guy Ryan Reaves started getting the ball rolling of the Penguins being primed to lose that uniqueness about them that was so evident during their 2016 Stanley Cup run, but what you have at center is what dictates the way a particular line is going to play not who is the left or right wing. Scouts I’ve heard from believe the Penguins will feel more short-term pain by Matt Cullen signing with Minnesota than Nick Bonino leaving for Nashville. “Cullen’s going to be the bigger loss [for them],” an Eastern Conference scout said of the Penguins center situation in losing Nick Bonino and Matt Cullen this summer. “His speed and all the intangiblesRead More »

Latest Steelers Buzz: Will coaches sit Bell in week 1? Tuitt progressing towards deal & More Buzz

 

Latest Steelers Buzz The Steelers communication with Le’Veon Bell’s representation over the last week has had the Steelers believing Bell would report early next week and prior to the fourth preseason game. Bell, though, appears to be planning to take a few more days before reporting. Bell responded to a tweet Tuesday night asking when he will report by saying ‘9-1-17’. That would be nine days before the season opener and the Steelers only having one padded practice (Sept 6) that Bell could participate in. Bell who has appeared in just one season opener due to suspensions and injuries, could potentially be taking himself out of the mix to miss another season opener by reporting too late. The Steelers, sources say, have communicated with Bell that not reporting prior to the start of next week’s practices ahead of the fourth preseason game could put him in jeopardy to dress forRead More »

Rumors: Pressure mounting from those in Bob Nutting’s inner circle for club to make a major change

 

Latest Pirates Buzz The Pirates 6-5 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers Monday night in extra innings was a perfect summary of their season. Pittsburgh has a 3-0 lead entering the seventh inning, yet, they had been playing with fire all night and everything came crashing down in the seventh. Gerrit Cole had six shutout innings going thanks to getting out of two bases loaded jams prior to the seventh. Then Clint Hurdle left his pitcher out to dry. As Cole’s pitch count was over 100, he began to start losing some zip and control on his pitches. Cole had run out of gas and it was clear to anybody that it was time to go to the bullpen. The stubbornness, though, of Hurdle played out and getting out of a third bases loaded situation unscathed wasn’t going to happen as Cole’s 112th pitch would be crushed by Curtis GrandersonRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Club putting a high value on cap room to open season

 

Latest Penguins Buzz With training camp less than a month away, the Penguins have major holes at the third and fourth line center spots but when you’ve won back-to-back Stanley Cups, have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin as the No. 1 and No. 2 centers to go with great depth at wing, who cares what your bottom-6 center position looks like in August, right? That’s the stance the Penguins are taking after what sources describe as a trade in the works for a centerman making under $3 million per season, falling through shortly after the Conor Sheary signing in early August. As trade talks throughout the league have dried up, which is notorious at this time of the year with no General Manager’s under pressure to make deals right now, what the Penguins are now seeing as great value is potentially opening up the season with over $3 million inRead More »