The NHL’s worst kept secret will become official Friday afternoon. The NHL will announce that the city of Pittsburgh will host the 2011 Winter Classic at Heinz Field on January 1, 2011.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will play the Washington Capitals in the fourth annual Winter Classic. Details for the game have been finalized for almost 6 weeks now as the NHL has been working extensively with city officials. The Steelers gave their blessing to have the game at Heinz Field months ago and their 2010 schedule reflected that.
There has been backlash around the league about the Penguins appearing in the classic for the second time but the NHL is eyeing improved ratings after the 2010 classic lacked the kind of star power that the Penguins and Capitals will bring to the table
More Penguins Buzz
The Penguins have until Tuesday June 1st to sign their 2008 draft picks that are not in college.
I’m told that the Penguins have opted not to sign 2008 4th round pick Nathan Moon. Moon, 20, had 27 goals and 69 points for the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League.
The Penguins have been mum on the reason not to sign Moon but “character concerns” is what I’m hearing.
Moon will re-enter the draft.
*The Penguins have retained assistant coach Mike Yeo. Yeo signed a three year contract in July 2008 and has one year remaining on his deal.
Yeo is regarded as an up and coming coach inside the organization but has head coach aspirations.
I’m told he is likely to at least explore AHL head coaching opportunities, if an opportunity presents itself. To interview for another job, Yeo would have to be granted permission by the Penguins.
The Penguins went through their coaching evaluations last week. At this point, I can’t confirm that Tony Granato and Gilles Meloche have been retained. No confirmation either way yet.
Granato signed a two year contract last August with a team option for a third.