LATEST PENS BUZZ: SHERO LAID INTO TEAM IN EXIT MEETINGS
Why Dustin Jeffrey fell so out of favor with head coach Dan Bylsma remains a mystery to Jeffrey and his representatives, sources tell Inside Pittsburgh Sports.com.
NHL sources indicate agents Pat Brisson and Jim Nice are expected to speak with GM Ray Shero in the coming weeks about whether the team no longer see’s Jeffrey’s style of play as a fit and
early indications are Jeffrey’s campÂ could push for a trade out of Pittsburgh this off-season with Jeffrey entering next season on a one-way contract with a low cap hit of $575,000.
Coming off knee surgery, Jeffrey had a lost season as the Penguins wouldn’t risk Jeffrey on waivers to send him down to the minors to get playing time, yet they wouldn’t give him an opportunity to get any playing time, falling to 14th, 15th on the depth chart at the forward position, despite scoring 7 goals in 25 games during the 2010-2011 season.
After a strong game against Philadelphia on February 18th, a Penguins 6-4 win where Jeffrey had a goal, he would only appear in three more games this season. Overall, Jeffrey had 4 goals and 6 points in 26 games played.
Jeffrey was not dealing with an injury during the second half of the season and a league source says there was no off-ice incident to prompt him falling out of favor with the staff.
“We’ll see what happens in the coming weeks, ” a source saidÂ when asked onÂ whether the two sidesÂ might come to an agreement that a trade would be the best for both parties.
If the Penguins look to move Jeffrey, interest would be expected which was a reason the Penguins wouldn’t risk putting Jeffrey on waivers this season.
Including Jeffrey, Pittsburgh has 11 forwards signed to 1-way contracts for next season.
— During this weeks exit meetings with his hockey club, one individual tells me GM Ray Shero laid into hockey club to the extent no one has seen Shero ever do during his tenure as GM, as the individual indicated Shero made it clear to the players how disappointed he was with this group. “He let it all out, ” the individual said.
— One Interesting observation from an NHL coach on the Penguins imploding in the playoffs, via Elliotte Friedman: “They started to believe their press clippings and lost attention to detail.”
— Unlike last year where the Penguins had a number of key forwards scheduled to be free agents, Pittsburgh has no pressing needs on the unrestricted free agent front this off-season at the forward position: Scheduled to become UFA’s include Steve Sullivan, Arron Asham, and Richard Park.
Sullivan will be the intriguing one. He was an under-rated addition at just $1.5 million per season, provided a presence on the power play and showed chemistry down the stretch with Sidney Crosby. However, he turns 38 in July and he’s inconsistent at even strength. He’s a player I’d expect the Penguins to take a wait and see approach past July 1.
The caliber of hockey in the NHL playoffs has been tremendous and the 2-1 games have been more exciting than the 4-3, 5-4 games.
The second round is set with the Rangers knocking off Ottawa last night 2-1 in Game 7 and the Devils coming away victorious in double overtime against Florida in the decisive Game 7.
The Eastern Conference has 1. New York vs 7. Washington and 4. Philadelphia vs 6. New Jersey. In the Western Conference, it’s 3. Phoenix – 4. Nashville and 2. St. Louis – 8. Los Angeles
The most intriguing series is New York and Washington. If Braden Holtby continues to play at the level he is, this has the looks of a pickem series from the standpoint of how the Capitals have evolved into a team built to play tight games under Dale Hunter.
The Rangers have to get Marian Gaborik going and he’s going to be an x-factor.
Philadelphia split the season series with New Jersey but I like them in six games and they have a favorable matchup. Offensively they’re going to be too much to handle for New Jersey and the rest is going to do Ilya Bryzgalov some good who was 3-0 with an 0.29 goals against average and .987 save percentage against the Devils this season. Marty Brodeur is not the Marty Brodeur of five to six years ago, so it’s hard to come up with an argument that the Devils have a big edge in goal.
In the West, these are two series that lack the marquee teams but should be closely matched games. I hate to go against St. Louis but love the way Los Angeles is playing right now. That is a tough series to pick as is Phoenix and Nashville who are very similar teams that play similar styles with strong goaltending. In fact, the goaltending for all four teams has the potential to be dominant.
GOALTENDING IN THE WEST
LAK Jonathan Quick (4-1, 1.59 GAA, .953 sv%)
PHX Mike Smith (4-2, 1.81 GAA, .950 sv% 1 SO)
NSH Pekka Rinne (4-1, 1.81 GAA, .944 sv%)
STL Brian Elliott (3-0, 1.37 GAA, .949 sv%)
RANGERS IN 7
FLYERS IN 6
KINGS IN 7 (upset)
PREDATORS IN 6