The City of Pittsburgh had an amazing turnout this afternoon for the Penguins victory parade, honoring the Stanley Cup Champions.
Estimates had the crowd at 375,000 which surpassed the amount of fans for the Steelers victory parade in early February.
Watching the players, it is clear how close of a group they are.
In the realm of things, the NHL is a business and the love affair will wear off as the Penguins impending free agents will have to start thinking about what is best for them no matter how much they would like to return.
The same for the Penguins front office which has 14 players signed for a total cap hit of $46.85 million.
Here’s the latest
Pittsburgh will begin talks with Sergei Gonchar by the end of the week regarding an extension.
Both sides are interested in a two year extension worth $5 million per season. An official announcement on a deal will not be announced until after July 1st.
Ray Shero will reach out to forward
Bill Guerin as early as Thursday, according to multiple sources. An offer will be made soon and Pittsburgh will set a deadline (first day of the draft), to Guerin on whether he will test free agency or not.
Pittsburgh will not go above $3.2 million on a one year deal.
Guerin is seeking a two year deal, something Pittsburgh is open too but at a price of about $2.5-$2.8 million per season.
The players including Sidney Crosby clearly want Guerin back. Regardless, there won’t be any movement on the Guerin front until the week of the draft.
* The situation with Mike Zigomanis is simple. Accept Pittsburgh’s one/two year deal worth $700,000 or the team will move to Craig Adams who can be signed for a similar or lower salary.
Team officials are confident a deal with Zigomanis will be struck by the draft. He has little value on the open market and has expressed an interest in returning.
*Mario Lemieux has taking a bigger role in the day to day operations and he will do the same this summer.
Lemieux still wants Ray Shero to find a long-term winger for Sidney Crosby.
Martin Havlat is player Lemieux coveted during the 2008 trade deadline but with limited cap space, it is going to make it difficult for Pittsburgh to be major players this off-season, unless Fedotenko surprisingly tests free agency and Guerin leaves.
With the money the Penguins have tied up down the middle, renting a winger may be a continuing trend for the Penguins in the years to come.
* The Penguins will always explore the open market but I’m hearing the growing consensus in the front office is to take a conservative approach this summer and try to bring back the same team upfront and wait for prospects Luca Caputi and Eric Tangradi to develop.
Pittsburgh wants Caputi to begin the 2009 season in Wilkes Barre. He will be a prime candidate to join the Penguins by mid-season.
If Caputi becomes a strong candidate to make the team out of camp, it will mean the Penguins have some holes upfront.
Reports of Alexei Kovalev receiving a one year – $7 million offer from the Montreal Canadiens are false, according to his agent.
One team that has their eye on Kovalev are the Washington Capitals.
Marian Hossa is not a fan of playing in Canada but due to his close relationship with Habs head coach Jacques Martin, the Canadiens are now in play for Hossa if he enters free agency.