Game 4 Series Buzz: Mike Sullivan going back to his No. 1 goaltender

 

Series Buzz Mike Sullivan is showing he doesn’t care about the story. Instead of letting Marc Andre Fleury have an opportunity to bounce back tonight in Game 4 and continue with what was potentially setting up as a storybook ending, Sullivan will turn to his No. 1 netminder Matt Murray tonight for Game 4. The buzz immediately after Game 3 was that Sullivan was leaning towards Murray but Penguin coaches looked to have messed with the media a bit on Thursday, in having Matt Murray share a net with Tristan Jarry. Murray, though, was informed

Steelers cut ties with Ladarius Green

 

The Ladarius Green era is over in Pittsburgh.   Entering the second year of a four year, $20 Million contract, Green was cut loose today due to a failed physical. Green appeared in just six games last season and the signing ends up being a bust due to the Steelers failure to investigate Green’s concussion issues during the 2015 season as a member of the San Diego Chargers. It’s a disappointing situation for all parties involved as the Steelers believed they found a unique deep threat from the tight end position and long-term replacement for Heath Miller in Ben Roethlisberger’s final years. It is now all for nothing and Pittsburgh missed out on a deep tight end class in the 17 draft.

Who Should Start Game 4? Sullivan tasked with no wrong decision

 

Game 4: Murray or Fleury? It was bound to happen that once Matt Murray was deemed healthy enough to play, that the first slip up from Marc Andre Fleury would lead to a controversy in goal. The Penguins now have one as they enter Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final down two games to one. Mike Sullivan left the door open for a change following Game 3 in saying he had to sleep on it. The facts are Sullivan believes Matt Murray is a better goaltender than Marc Andre Fleury and that’s been clear since Murray evolved on the scene last spring. The slightest opportunity to turn to Murray, Sullivan was always going to strongly consider going back to Murray. For Sullivan, I don’t think there’s a wrong decision on whether he goes with Fleury or Murray for Game 4. The popular decision is to stick with Fleury andRead More »

Around the Bases: Will McCutchen’s decline impact Pirates willingness to sell high on Gerrit Cole?

 

Pirates 6 – Nationals 1 PIT GAME LEADERS Gerrit Cole (W, 2-4)| 7 IP, 3 H, ER, 3K, 2 BB Josh Bell | 1-3, HR, 3 RBI Andrew McCutchen | 2-4, 2 RBI, 2 SB Around the Bases 1. Gerrit Cole is pitching like an All-Star and Neal Huntington’s phone is only going to continue to ring off the hook up until the deadline about Cole. Cole limited the high powered Washington Nationals to three hits over seven innings in a Pirates 6-1 win on Wednesday night. “He had everything working tonight and it was the fifth or sixth inning before we kind of went what happened,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said of Cole’s performance. Cole’s ERA is now 2.84 on the season. Could Baker be managing Cole in the not to distant future? The Cole rumors are going to be rampant leading into August 1 and for the obviousRead More »

Game 3 Analysis: Senators have Penguins searching for offensive mastery

 

Game 3: Senators take 2-1 series lead The Ottawa Senators have put the Penguins in a position of chasing the series after a 5-1 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference on Wednesday night. What the Penguins found out tonight is the ‘boring’ Senators are a different team at home. However, they shouldn’t have been caught off-guard. On the road in the playoffs the Senators have evolved into this play it safe, prevent defense type mindset, while at home they play a tad more aggressive in the offensive zone by taking more chances and pushing the tempo. The Penguins knew it was coming and had no answer for the Senators aggressive start. Mike Hoffman scores 48 seconds in and then the Senators kept pushing. Marc Methot, Derick Brassard and Zach Smith score on consecutive shots in a 2:18 span, the fastest three goals in Senators franchise history, and Marc AndreRead More »

Steve Mears in as the Penguins new play-by-play announcer

 

Root Sports and the Pittsburgh Penguins are making a shakeup with their announcing crew for the foreseeable future. The team announced today Steve Mears has been hired by Root Sports as the play-by-play broadcaster for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Mears have agreed to a multi-year contract and will join Bob Errey in the booth. Errey has also agreed to a new multi-year extension. A Murrysville native, Mears spent the last four years with the NHLNetwork/NHL Live shows. Previously, he was the radio play-by-play voice of the New York Islanders from 2006-2009 and worked for the Penguins radio network from 2009-13. What happens now with Paul Steigerwald? He’s going to be taken care of. Per the team, Steigerwald will transition to the Penguins front office in a new role with the communications and marketing departments. The club states Steigerwald “will work with the Penguins’ in-house media operation, making regular appearances on PensTVRead More »

Game 2 Analysis: Grind it out, prevent defense style of game can also favor the Penguins

 

Eastern Conference Final: Penguins in for a Grind The Eastern Conference Final has evolved into a matchup of two polar opposites. Whichever team can be more effective in playing a mix of their own style and their opponents game is going to be in the best position to advance to the Stanley Cup Final in what’s setting up as a grinding series. Game 1 that advantage went to Ottawa. They dictated the terms in limiting the Penguins ability offensively to make that critical ‘next play’ and countered-punched just enough in transition. Game 2 was a complete reversal. The scoreboard for Game 2 says the Penguins and Senators played a one goal game in a Penguins 1-0 win to even the series at 1-1 but it was all Penguins in this one. “We had a number of high quality chances,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said of the Penguins who outshot OttawaRead More »

Eastern Conference Final: Structure out-executes High-End Talent in Game 1

 

Structure out-executes High-End Talent in Game 1 The Ottawa Senators took Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final on a Bobby Ryan overtime goal to secure a 2-1 OT win at the PPG Paints Arena. The Senators with the Game 1 win, improved to 6-1 in overtime during the 2017 playoffs. “Our players are really good at not fearing the outcome, and we play the way we play,” Senators coach Guy Boucher said after the win as the Senators slowed down the Penguins offensive attack. The Senators are playing with house money in reaching the Conference Final and are now three wins away from an improbable trip to the Stanley Cup Final. Stunning loss for the heavily favored Penguins to drop Game 1? Coming off an emotional seven game series against the Capitals, if there was going to be a let down game for the Penguins it was going toRead More »

Game 7 Fallout: Penguins Ground Capitals strength’s with best performance of playoffs

 

Penguins Ground Capitals Offensive Attack When it Mattered The Washington Capitals had some bad luck in this series. It’s not just the underlying numbers that say it but the eye test also showed it. In Game 7, though, there was no bad luck hovering around the Capitals. The Pittsburgh Penguins just wanted it more and looked like a team that’s been there before. “I don’t think the urgency was there,” said Alex Ovechkin, who is now 0-3 all-time against Pittsburgh and 3-7 in Game 7’s during his career. Stunning omission from Ovechkin who was a non-factor for a Capitals team that had so much on the line. Ovechkin wasn’t the only Capital stating the facts that Washington didn’t play with urgency despite being on the stage of a Game 7. Again with the Capitals, something just isn’t right here with how good and talented they often are, yet, they haven’tRead More »