By Tim Benz
Talbot rips Ovechkin
-The press conference to kick off hype for the NHL Winter Classic at Heinz Field was full of information surrounding both the Steelers and the Penguins. Despite being surrounded by big names such as Sidney Crosby, Mario Lemieux, Gary Bettman, and Art Rooney II it was Max Talbot who was the focus of a lot of the attention for something he said on my 105.9 the X morning show.
During an interview at 9:25 am, Talbot referred to Alexander Ovechkin as a “douche” and openly talked about how much he “hated” the Capital’s star. Talbot also recounted and icy meeting with Ovechkin at the NHL awards show two years ago.
By the time the press conference was ready to start about three hours later, Talbot realized his comments had already caused quite a stir and, at times, tried to back off his statements when others followed up on our interview.
But Mad Max also told one writer: “Well, if it helps hockey I’ll say it again.” Personally, I deem Max Talbot to be an excellent judge of character. So his initial instincts and quotes are probably the accurate ones. And I think he should stick with his gut here and continue to promote the great game of hockey in whatever way he sees fit.
Talbot also begged Penguin fans to avoid doing the “gonchar whoop-whoop” sound because….it sounded stupid when they did it to him in Washington, so we shouldn’t do it here.”
Shero doesn’t rule out Guerin
– Penguins G.M. Ray Shero says he is still in touch with Bill Guerin’s agent and “isn’t 100 % ruling him out” as a possible returning player. But for now, Shero is saying the Penguins are “letting it be” as it relates to free agency.
The G.M. claims he is staying in touch with “quite a few players” but is focusing more on the young guys in the team’s system as potential options to plug holes on the roster.
Shero praises Tangradi, Smigelski and others
He says 90% of the remaining NHL free agent players are going to have to take significant pay cuts if they are to play in the NHL next season. Shero pointed to Eric Tangradi, Dustin Jeffery, and Robert Bortuzzo as players who stood out at the team’s development camp. He also had high praise for William’s College try out player Alex Smigelski who will next participate in the team’s London, Ontario camp in September.
Bettman looking to overturn other long-term contracts
-Gary Bettman says the controversial Ilya Kovalchuk deal will be worked out through arbitration with a date hopefully to come in the near future. But if the NHL wins that case…….
Bettman says the league may even go back and look at some other long term contracts like the Marian Hossa deal to see if they get those overturned too.
Malkin on wing; 1967 jerseys
-Pascal Dupuis says if one of the three centers gets moved to wing it should be Evgeni Malkin.
-It looks like the Penguins are going with the old, white and blue 1967 jersey for the game against Washington. That’s the one with the Penguin logo wearing the scarf and hat. It had been rumored the 1984 Mario Lemieux rookie year gold jersey would be chosen.