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 »

Key Takeaways & Rumblings on the NHL’s 24-Team Return to Play Plan


NHL commissioner Gary Bettman today revealed the NHL’s 24-team Return to Play plan. Here are the key takeaways: 1. Gary Bettman today was able to at least paint a picture on what the NHL is trying to do in restarting the season. A lot of what he said has matched the rumblings of late but the clock is ticking where things had reached the point where some movement had to be made on the ‘developing a plan’ process. “Any plan for the resumption of play, by definition, cannot be perfect and I am certain that depending on which team you root for you can find some element of this package that you might prefer be done differently,” said Bettman in a detailed media conference. “We believe we have constructed an overall plan that includes all teams that as a practical matter might have had a chance of qualifying for theRead More »

Best-of-5: Penguins will face Canadiens if NHL resumes play


Great momentum for Vegas as Hub city There’s many more steps needed for a resumption of the 2019-2020 season, but the National Hockey League has taken an important step in setting up the framework for a return to play this summer after the NHLPA voted 29-2 Friday night in agreeing to the NHL’s 24-team format proposal. “The Executive Board of the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) has authorized further negotiations with the NHL on a 24-team return to play format to determine the winner of the 2020 Stanley Cup. Several details remain to be negotiated and an agreement on the format would still be subject to the parties reaching agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play,” the union said in a statement. After two months of exchanging proposals and ideas, the league finally came around to the 24-team format that the players union has seen as the mostRead More »

Day 2 Buzz: By design, Steelers add a different type of receiver to their young mix


Steelers go WR, OLB on Day-2 The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Notre Dame wide receiver Chase Claypool (6-4, 238) with the 49th overall pick and capped off the night in going outside linebacker in the third round, selecting Charlotte’s Alex Highsmith. Claypool was the 11th wide receiver drafted and while no one had Claypool linked to Pittsburgh, the player himself didn’t think he was on Pittsburgh’s radar. “Pittsburgh would have been my last guess,” said Claypool in a conference call with reporters. In an extremely deep wide receiver group, Claypool despite Calvin Johnson type measurables, was a player in the teens on many draft insider boards. Mel Kiper had Claypool ranked as his 11th best receiver in his draft rankings and Claypool was on nobody’s board as a sure-fire second round type talent. At Notre Dame in 2019, Claypool caught 66 passes for 1,037 yards and 13 touchdowns. The knock onRead More »

Draft Rumblings: Steelers had a top-15 grade on Utah State QB Jordan Love


Steelers Draft Buzz — Utah St QB Jordan Love being off the board increases chances of Steelers going desired playmaker route in RD 2– The Pittsburgh Steelers gladly took a back seat Thursday night in Round 1 of the NFL draft after turning what ended up being the 18th overall pick into Minkah Fitzpatrick with last September’s trade. Pittsburgh doesn’t have to live in the game of so and so has ‘great potential, we think he can be a contributor soon’. Fitzpatrick is already a cornerstone one of the NFL’s up and coming defenses with T.J. Watt for years to come. Tank for Tua? Despite a belief among NFL insiders Miami was going to pass on Tua because of the medicals with speculation of trading up to #3 for a tackle, the Dolphins after all got their quarterback at No. 5 in Tua Tagovalioa, but was interesting how trading twoRead More »

Latest NHL Buzz: NHL no longer considering non-NHL cities for a summer return


Latest NHL Buzz After multiple discussions with the top hierarchy of the NHL Players Union over the last few weeks, the National Hockey League has scrapped any future meaningful discussions surrounding a return to play at venues in North Dakota, New Hampshire and any other true neutral site locations that were being mulled or discussed. Those two sites in particular that were pushed by the NHL for weeks in private discussions, are said to be completely off the table due to little player support on such a scenario. The NHL has decided the league would just be wasting precious time in thinking they could get enough player support to resume the season at any neutral site locations the league has broached in preliminary discussions. While any return of the season will clearly be at a select 3-4 venues, everyone involved is on board with that, NHL players are strongly inRead More »

Breakaway Buzz: NHL/Economics, Penguins’ Ownership, Evaluating a potential lost season


*Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. The NHL as expected extended their self-quarantine recommendation through April 30 for the players. It had previously been through April 15th. Update on @NHL Self-Quarantine Recommendation. — NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 14, 2020 Nothing has changed for the National Hockey League from a few weeks ago. Top league officials continue to be willing to wait things out for another couple months to see if there’s any chance to finish the 2019-2020 season. The league is going to wait until at least Mid-June before a decision is made, sources say. As reported a little while ago here, the best case scenario the league currently see’s is a July return for players in a training camp setting, a message the NHLPA also gave to players in a recent conference call, followed by August-October completion of the 2019-2020 season and the start of the 2020-2021 season inRead More »

MLB eyes a May return in Arizona, Pessimism in NHL circles?


Major League Baseball to begin regular season by Late May/Early June? (Photo: David Hague) Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Union are accelerating a plan to return in early May, much sooner than many expected, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports ESPN’s Jeff Passan reportsESPN’s Jeff Passan reports. NEWS: Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are focusing on a plan backed by federal health officials that could have players in training camps by May and games soon thereafter. Details at ESPN on how MLB may return — and the difficulty in doing so: — Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 7, 2020 As expected, It’s a very complicated scenario. The plan, which according to Passan currently has support of Federal officials, calls for all 30 teams playing in the greater Phoenix area in isolation without fans. Rapid testing, along with players and coaches having to sit in the stands 6-feet apart isRead More »

Latest NHL Buzz: Top decision makers leaning towards a 1-16 playoffs at neutral sites?


Keys on the NHL Navigating through a Great Unknown As the Coronavirus has put North America on lockdown with no end in sight, the NHL, MLB and NBA are living in a period of unknown like the rest of us are. We’re months away from sports returning and it’s going to be even longer for a complete normal way of life returning. With a vaccine several months away and experts in the medical field believing the virus may return again in the fall before a vaccine will be available, this is just such unchartered waters for professional leagues and all have to be prepared for a number of different scenarios to play out in the coming months. At the end of the day, if the professional leagues want to salvage their seasons, they’ve had to come to accept the reality that playing without fans is going to be about theRead More »