LATEST PENS BUZZ
*** It’s been over two weeks since the Penguins were eliminated from the playoffs and watching the Chicago Blackhawks on the verge of winning the Stanley Cup, up 3-2 in the series, the way the Blackhawks have been able to get the Bruins out of their element should really be catching the attention of Penguin management in a negative way, but it’s probably not as they’re likely still patting the coaching staff on the back for being able to beat the vaunted New York Islanders.
What is still amazing is that not for one full game were the Penguins able to dictate the terms of play and get the Bruins out of their element like the Blackhawks have been able to do, most notably in Games 4 and 5.
The Penguins looked at the Bruins series and still do, as they played one bad period (Game 1, third period) and one awful game in Game 2. The Penguins strongly feel that Games 3 and 4 were very even games. Yes, they were competitive games, but the Penguins never dictated the terms as they were both low scoring games. Watching the Blackhawks do what they’re doing in gaining the offensive zone, making Zdeno Chara a non-factor, causing traffic in front by getting deflections and rebound goals, it’s become even more clear of how bad Claude Julien out coached the Penguins coaching staff.
One individual in the know said there’s a real arrogance among the Penguins coaching staff and management that the Bruins series was really just a fluke. That should be alarming.
*** Marc Andre Fleury could become enticed about playing elsewhere I’m told, but If the Minnesota Wild are serious about Marc Andre Fleury, they better be prepared to overpay for him.
Sources say the Penguins are certainly listening on Fleury but word is the Penguins seek two NHL players in return and a high draft pick or top prospect for them to move Fleury, making a trade unlikely.
The Penguins are not comfortable enough that Tomas Vokoun can carry a heavy workload during the regular season and there’s not many stop-gap starters to find in free agency.
The free agent market for goaltenders includes a group of older goaltenders. Among them Nikolai Khabibulin, 40 years old, Tim Thomas, 39 years old (retired), Evgeni Nabokov, 37 years old, Jose Theodore, 36 years old, Brian Boucher, 36 years old, Niklas Backstrom, 35 years old.
The two top goaltenders who could hit the open market include Mike Smith, 31 years old, and Ray Emery, 30 years old. Smith is an attractive option but is said to be seeking $4 to $5 million per season.