Latest Pens Buzz: On Crosby’s Dominance, Jake Guentzel’s 40 goal pace, Nylander Trade Buzz & More


Latest Pens Buzz Sidney Crosby’s days of winning Art Ross Trophies are over and he might not even lead the Penguins in points again this season, but Crosby’s magnificent play the last three games since returning from injury is why pundits and the fan base shouldn’t overthink things as to who Pittsburgh’s MVP is at the quarter-mark. It’s No. 87 and it’s not close when you evaluate Crosby’s impact on a game-by-game basis in all areas this season. Crosby is the Penguins engine and the Penguins suddenly didn’t look so fragile these last three games. There’s a reason why for that…… — Jake Guentzel’s hat trick against the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday night gives him 11 goals and 7 assists in 22 games. Guentzel is now on pace for 41 goals and 67 points. As illustrated here prior to the season, Guentzel in the 65 point neighborhood would give hisRead More »

Penguins playing at a 78 point pace, also talking like a losing team


The Penguins on Monday night lost for the ninth time in 10 games, suffering a 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Here are the Penguins on November 20th, currently playing at a 78 point pace. Despite some positives in the loss that have to continue long-term if this team is going to have a chance to turn this thing around, such as the play of Derick Brassard/Tanner Pearson last night and the top-2 lines as a whole getting to the net-front effectively for the first part of the game, it’s hard to overlook how bad of a loss this was in blowing a 4-1 lead. After the Penguins were in complete control of the game, Buffalo began to tilt momentum in the middle part of the second period and Pittsburgh never grasped it back. They just couldn’t put any shifts together to stop the Sabres comeback and as theRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Giving Sheary away has backfired, on frustrations brewing towards Matt Murray & More Buzz


Sheary’s skilled game has been missed more than the Penguins ever imagined Conor Sheary with 6 goals on the season and the surging Buffalo Sabres come to town tonight against the floundering Penguins who have lost 8 of 9 and minus the club actually showing up in the third period vs the Senators Saturday night, this team is trending towards hitting rock bottom. Sheary’s solid start to the season stings even more for the Penguins when it comes to how bad they botched the Sheary/Hunwick trade from turning the $5.25 million in cap space created into Jack Johnson/Riley Sheahan. There’s no getting around that and another thought in the organization with the Sheary trade at the time was that the Penguins needed to move some forwards out to open spots for others. That has also backfired big time on the Penguins. As one NHL scout told me last week, theRead More »

Analyzing the Carl Hagelin – Tanner Pearson Trade


Analyzing the Carl Hagelin – Tanner Pearson Trade The Carl Hagelin era is over in Pittsburgh. Jim Rutherford took his first step in shaking up the roster by dealing Hagelin to the Los Angeles Kings for 26 year old winger Tanner Pearson. It’s a typical trade you see this time of year, a struggling player for another struggling player. Hagelin, 30, was in the final year of his contract with a $4 million cap hit. Pearson, 26, carries a $3.75 million cap hit and is under contract for two more seasons (through 2020-2021). Pittsburgh will retain $250,000 of Hagelin’s cap hit. Both have struggled mightily this season from an offensive standpoint. Hagelin playing a top-6 role, has a goal and 2 assists. Pearson is off to a nightmare start with 1 assist in 17 games. From a pure value standpoint, this is a win for the Penguins. They get aRead More »

Penguins extend Jim Rutherford, have a trade pending with Kings


Two Stanley Cups in his first four seasons on the job in Pittsburgh will have Jim Rutherford sticking around quite a while longer. Rutherford today signed a three year extension that keeps him under contract with the club through 2021-2022 season. As long as Rutherford wanted to keep going, this was always going to happen based on the two Stanley Cups and the close relationship he has with team President David Morehouse. On basis, the Penguins had to make a commitment to Rutherford based on what he’s done so far. However, it’s not out of character to question whether this is the right move to keep and extend the Penguins Cup window with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. As the Penguins are sputtering, Rutherford has put together back-to-back poor off-seasons and now enters his toughest task as General Manager in trying to not become what the Los Angeles Kings andRead More »

Penguins have put 2nd/3rd level players on notice, interesting names out there in trade talks


The Penguins losing streak extended to five games Wednesday night with a 2-1 loss against the Capitals. A T.J. Oshie goal with a 1:14 left in regulation sunk the Penguins as Riley Sheahan lost Oshie in space for a tap-in goal. The positive for the Penguins on a day their General Manager called out his club is that this group responded very well with what should have been a ‘W’ in their column. Pittsburgh out-shot Washington 42-22, out-attempted the Capitals 70-29 at 5 vs 5 with a +24 edge in scoring chances. Aside from Evgeni Malkin deciding to take T.J. Oshie with a head shot, Pittsburgh’s big guns were setting the tone. You could see it from Sidney Crosby who had the lone Penguins goal, a power play marker in the first period, that it was a must for him to go out and lead by example. Crosby’s 200 ftRead More »

Dead-weight in bottom-6, Sprong’s East-West Play, Olli Maatta & More Buzz


Biggest takeaway from Pittsburgh’s 5-1 loss to the Devils: Not to sound like a broken record, but just like the Leafs game highlighted, there is way too much deadweight in the bottom-6 to make up ground when the top-2 lines and the power play are held in check. Monday night was more of the same. Pittsburgh continues to get zero offense from Riley Sheehan/Matt Cullen down the middle, both showing no ability to create individual offense, a major attribute each player lacks, Derek Grant another center by trade is a meh player and Daniel Sprong is not playing anywhere close to an NHL level player. Sprong’s poor play is beyond the coaches not finding him enough minutes. He doesn’t deserve any. Sprong was supposed to be that needed skill element on the 4th line and he’s showing no ability to provide it. As mentioned before, Sprong’s east-west game is aRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Alarming sign from Leafs game; Nashville/Pittsburgh Trade Talk; Monitoring Zuccarello


Through 12 games, the Pittsburgh Penguins most complete game this season was a 3-0 win vs the Toronto Maple Leafs on Oct 18. that jumpstarted a 4-0 Canadian road trip. The Leafs, though, would turn the tables on the Penguins Saturday night with a 5-0 shutout win at PPG Paints Arena in putting together a masterpiece of a performance themselves. The Penguins who have now lost three straight, were out-worked and out-skated in all three zones of the ice. Where Toronto was exceptional vs the Penguins was with their closing speed defensively whether it was 5-on-5 or defending the Penguins power play. They suffocated the Penguins with great back pressure/gap control that played a part in the Penguins looking so listless. Pittsburgh’s zone entries were a mess, even on the man-advantage. Just one of those nights? The Penguins can go ahead and say that if they want, it was justRead More »

Sustainable or not? On Dominik Simon’s Emergence, Trending 5-on-5 #’s & More Buzz


Simon starting to show worth beyond his small group of believers Dominik Simon (3-5-8) continues to show signs of being a pivotal breakthrough player for the Penguins this season. Getting cheap labor from a spot or two in your top-9 is always a must for a Cup contending team against the cap. While the fan base, pundits wanted him shipped to Wheeling after last post-season, the coaching staff starting with assistant Mark Recchi who has been a big Simon backer from day 1 saw this coming. Simon enters tonight’s game vs Toronto riding a five game points streak. Some key #’s that standout. At 5-on-5, Simon (9/3, 75%) is tied with Sidney Crosby (12/4, 75%) for first on the team in Goals For Percentage and Simon is tops on the team in Scoring Chance For Percentage at 55.43%, just a tick above Crosby. — One surprise through 11 games: CarlRead More »