SATURDAY’S PENGUINS BUZZ
For those with the homer glasses on, the Penguins 5-4 shootout win over the Ottawa Senators Thursday night that saw the Penguins implode defensively in the third period will likely be brushed off but what Thursday night’s game further showed is this group has a lot to prove that they are any different than last year.
Are they suddenly just going to develop a closer’s mentality and be able to deal with adversity out the blue come playoff time? It doesn’t usually happen.
During the first two periods of watching the Penguins telecast Thursday night on Root Sports, you would have thought the rest of the NHL should just shut down and hand Penguins the Stanley Cup based on the overboard praise from the telecast of the Penguins being so great.
Going back through the tape of the Penguins – Red Wings game from Wednesday, the Penguins had similar issues defensively as Thursday night when holding a multi-goal lead. The difference being against the Red Wings is the Penguins got strong goaltending from Marc Andre Fleury to cover up holes in their defensive game.
The Penguins struggles to deal with adversity over the last several years is why you just can’t write off last night’s game. They get rattled anytime there’s a push back.
Pittsburgh’s need for another top-4 defenseman has been well documented for weeks now but a lot of their issues in letting teams come back or hang around when they shouldn’t first starts with the 60 minute offensive mentality of their forwards and a system emphasis on constant pinching from the d-men.
TRADE BUZZ & SPECULATION
— Hurricanes winger Jiri Tlusty is a player Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has been coveting all season and the Hurricanes have started the process of putting him on the trade market in the past couple days. Tlusty’s $2.95 million cap hit and the Penguins feeling their primary need is a d-partner for Christian Ehrhoff complicates the ability to acquire Tlusty. Regardless he’ll be a name to watch in the summer if the Penguins don’t go down the trade route in the next couple weeks.
— Three primary names the Penguins are looking at on the backend are Jeff Petry, Marek Zidlicky and Cody Franson with talks regarding Petry advancing past the preliminary stages, sources say. All three are strong puck movers, a key trend in the type of defensemen the Penguins are looking at.
What’s problematic for the Penguins is they can’t even take on a player with a cap hit over $1.5 million without sending a salary the other way. For the Penguins to acquire Franson or Petry, the Penguins will likely have to overpay to get the Leafs or Oilers to pick up some of the remaining salary. Don’t rule it out. The likes of Beau Bennett, Brian Dumoulin are in play for the right deal as the Penguins brass is going for it.
— Other than a romantic notion from the fan base of Jagr going back to Pittsburgh, there isn’t any evidence it’s likely to happen and NHL executives would be quite be surprised to see the Penguins go in that direction. One reason being is the Penguins have been interested in much different type of wingers
than a Jagr type in recent weeks.
One prominent NHL insider on Friday was asked about Jagr returning to Pittsburgh and expressed doubt that the Penguins will go down that road.
“Starting to think emphasis more on getting defenseman for Ehrhoff on second pair,” McKenzie said. “If they’re going to get a winger, they’d be more interested in a Daniel Winnik type than a Jaromir Jagr type.”