Latest Pens Buzz: Covid Outbreaks, 5 vs 5 Scoring, GM Search Latest

 

Can NHL manage Covid outbreak? The worst fear the NHL had prior to the season starting has been a belief among their team of medical advisers and consultants that team to team transmission from the benches being a much higher probability for NHL players than the rarity it’s been for football, basketball. Airborne transmission is a high concern in hockey arenas and the NHL is seeing some early evidence of it being problematic in the latest spread among multiple teams. That will have the NHL making immediate changes to their covid protocols such as installing portable air cleaners behind the benches to try to help decrease the chance of airborne transmission. As expected, the league is going to be forced to adjust covid protocols on a week to week basis. The ability to make bench changes in trying to space players out better like the NBA can isn’t an optionRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Power Play Woes, GM Search kicking into high gear

 

Power Play Woes Doom Penguins’ in Loss Deserved a better fate? Maybe but these things usually even out as the Penguins have gotten some W’s so far this season when they shouldn’t have. Without three of their top-5 defensemen as Kris Letang is now on the shelf, the Penguins laid out a blueprint defensively in the first and second period of really how they need to defend whether they have a full roster or not. There were a lot of things to like in how they defended 5 vs 5. For whatever reason, the Penguins always seem to do this when they’re ravished with injuries at certain spots. A light will go off that this is how they need to play but it rarely continues when the roster gets back to full strength. Another storyline out of the loss is a little goaltender controversy is brewing with Casey DeSmith beingRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Penguins to hear pitches for President of Hockey Operations & More Buzz

 

Penguins to go the President of Hockey Operations Route? Adjusting to the new trends? We’ll see whether it actually transpires or not, but the Pittsburgh Penguins will go into the interview process this week with an open mind of implementing a major upheaval of the front office structure. There is a growing sense around the league that Co-Owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle will strongly consider a President of Hockey Operations structure with a desire for Team President David Morehouse, while still acting as the liaison to ownership on hockey level dealings, Some are expressing caution that this will actually play out, but it’s something being seriously mulled by Lemieux and Burkle, sources say, and that’s a good thing. That has the Penguins bringing in 3-4 candidates this week to hear pitches on this model and actually be interviewing for President of Hockey Operations, not General Manager. Multiple league sourcesRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: More Fallout from Rutherford’s Exit & Latest on GM Search

 

The Rutherford Fallout & Latest on the GM Search Worst kept secret around the league right now: Jim Rutherford will be laying the groundwork the next couple months to join a franchise as a President of Hockey Operations with former Penguins Assistant GM Jason Karmanos coming in as General Manager. Karmanos who was Rutherford’s top lieutenant the last couple seasons wasn’t just a puppet for Rutherford. He has been considered an up and coming name in the executive ranks and was a sleeper GM candidate in the Coyotes recent search and also spoke with the Devils for their opening last season. — There is more and more noise from those close to Rutherford that sometime around late October/early November he started to believe a mutual parting AFTER the season was more likely than not, which is a shock to many as it was always assumed Rutherford would be allowed toRead More »

Breakaway Buzz: Noise of Sidney Crosby eventually teaming up with Nathan MacKinnon (In Colorado) growing in league circles

 

TIOPS Breakaway Buzz *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* Wild Speculation surrounds Penguins Future How wild is the speculation surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins right now beyond the General Manager search? It’s pretty wild. Especially to the point where NHL executives, some top NHL Insiders are buzzing about even Sidney Crosby’s future. Yes Sidney Crosby and we’re not talking Sidney Crosby going off and playing elsewhere once his contract ends. There is legit chatter around the league that don’t think it’s a 100% guarantee Crosby will stick around for his final good to great years in a LA Kings/Chicago Blackhawks type situation. Would the ultimate company man actually end his career elsewhere? It’s been something in Pittsburgh considered unimaginable, but for a number of reasons, some tea leaves are being planted from the Crosby camp……… who is very close to Crosby’s agent Pat Brisson, doesn’t go there “There’s some really strong opinions who thinkRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Wake-Up Call, Messaging, Can Penguins alter style of play?

 

Mike Sullivan has his work cut out for himself The Pittsburgh Penguins are a fortunate 4-3-1 after eight games. That’s the good through eight games and that’s about it. The multiple what I’d call fluke come from behind wins have covered up how bad this team has played for a lot of stretches thus far. With a number of injuries on the blueline, Mike Sullivan could have taken the easy way out after the Penguins lackluster 4-1 loss to the Bruins and chalked it up to injuries. He was right not to. We’ve got to play the game the right way,” Mike Sullivan said. “That’s what I think. We’ve got to defend when it’s called upon and not just try to outscore teams. You’ve got to be harder to play against if were going to find success consistently. And we weren’t hard against tonight — Penguins coach Mike Sullivan onRead More »

Rumors: Fitzgerald and Drury gaining early buzz as top candidates on Penguins wishlist

 

Way Too Early Names connected to the Penguins Jim Rutherford’s resignation was so sudden that’s Pittsburgh’s General Manager search is still a few days away from totally getting off it’s feet. Things are in the very early stages from a true list being put together as the Penguins hope to begin conducting some phone interviews next week. Ideally the Penguins want to put a permanent General Manager in place before seasons end, but if there is a top target they have to wait on till after the season, it’s something they’re not going to rule out. My oh my, though, Pittsburgh has fielded a ton of calls already, sources say. There is a ton of interest in the job. 24 hours in, the two names garnering the most buzz around the league is Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald and Rangers assistant GM Ch The sense inside Penguins circles and outside ofRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Pettiness, myriad of issues that mirrored Jim Rutherford in his final days as GM

 

Jim Rutherford’s Sudden Resignation — Shocked, stunned, mystified, it is all above for the entire Penguins organization on Jim Rutherford abruptly stepping down as General Manager on Wednesday morning. One high ranking Penguins source best described Rutherford quitting as ‘pettiness’. What has stunned most in the organization is just the way Rutherford up and quit. To put it frankly, the 71 year old decided out of the blue he is just done with the organization. There was no outreach from Rutherford on sticking around in an advisory role until the season is over or anything to that matter, sources say. I’m told top Penguin officials are just left stunned even more so from the standpoint that reasons they feel Rutherford might have quit for were really just lower level type disagreements that the Penguins saw as being fixable after talking things out. Jim, though, had no interest in that. MinutesRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: On Evgeni Malkin’s struggles & More Buzz

 

Any Change in Penguins long-term outlook for 2021 Season? Pittsburgh has rattled off four straight wins, all come from behind wins and on Sunday secured their first regulation win of the season. Pittsburgh on Sunday was improved in cutting down the grade-A chances, we’ll see if that can continue tonight vs the Bruins. Getting off to the 4-2-0 start compared with the eye test has showed is something else. The record could easily be flipped to 2-4-0 and six games in, I still feel the same way I did before the season started. A likely playoff team but nothing more than a middle of the road team. Top to bottom this is just an uninspiring group 5-on-5 that isn’t built for today’s NHL’s when you try to compare them with some of the NHL’s top tier teams. Penguin management has had this obsession that the roster they’ve put in placeRead More »