Off-Day Buzz: Orpik drawing rave reviews for play vs Caps; Little things from Stempniak improving 5-on-5 play for top line

 

OFF-DAY BUZZ The player we saw in Brooks Orpik Monday night and again Tuesday night vs the Washington Capitals was the player we saw on a regular basis three to four years ago. Orpik for much of this season has looked like a third pairing type defenseman on the decline, but the last two games vs the Capitals, Orpik completely shutdown the games best goal scorer in Alex Ovechkin. “Monday night and maybe even more so {Tuesday} tonight , Orpik was really good denying him the puck, denying him the space and confronting him when he had the puck,” head coach Dan Bylsma said following the Penguins 2-0 win yesterday. “Monday night, he was physical, he was hard. That’s a physical matchup that he brings to that matchup, that defensive matchup. You know Ovechkin is going to play a hard game, and Brooks has matched it in the last twoRead More »

Team USA – Team Russia: What We Learned

 

TEAM USA – TEAM RUSSIA: WHAT WE LEARNED The Americans thrilling 3-2 shootout win over Russia was a fantastic game that had just about everything. The game appears to have caught the attention of so many around the United States and it’s all anyone seems to be talking about which is great to see. T.J. Oshie (4-or-6 in shootout) had the heroics, scoring four times in the shootout, and beat Sergei Bobrovsky between legs in the eighth round for the epic win. Oshie who the casual hockey fan probably never heard of, has suddenly become a household name. He got a shout out from the White House to gaining almost 100,000 twitter followers today since scoring the game winning goal. He started the day at 90,000 and now has 190,000 followers as of 8:00 p.m. Oshie was asked by a reporter on how he it feels to be an AmericanRead More »

On Second Line Production; Scuderi at even strength defensively since returning & more

 

LINE PRODUCTION FROM SECOND LINE Evgeni Malkin had a triumphant return Sunday afternoon vs the Jets with 2 goals and 1 assist, leading the Penguins to a thrilling 6-5 win. While fans were introduced to a 1980’s brand of hockey and the Penguins lit up a backup goaltender, the key development yesterday was the production of the second line. At even strength, the line of Jussi Jokinen, Malkin and James Neal combined for 4 goals and 3 assists and were not on the ice (together) for any goals against. In limited time together this season as a trio, the line has been among the most productive in the league. The Jokinen – Malkin – Neal line has combined for 16 goals which ranks in the top-15 in the NHL among line production. These are goals combined when the three have been on the ice together. While Jussi Jokinen’s inconsistencies are aRead More »

The Brooks Orpik dilemma

 

LONG TERM PICTURE: WHAT SHOULD PENS DO WITH BROOKS ORPIK? Since the Rob Scuderi signing, I’ve been getting some emails from fans that the Penguins should trade Brooks Orpik. My answer to all them has been “no chance”. Maybe I’ll look bad and Penguins GM Ray Shero pulls off a summer surprise and trades Orpik but I just don’t see it happening. The Penguins strongly feel you need four legitimate top-4 defensemen to win a Stanley Cup and the addition of Scuderi gives the Penguins a strong group of top two pairings in Paul Martin – Brooks Oprik, and Rob Scuderi – Kris Letang. Trading Orpik would diminish the Scuderi signing as the Penguins would be right back to where they were last season; With three top-4 defensemen, this time being Martin, Letang and Scuderi. Orpik, 32, is entering the final year of his contract and turns 33 in September.Read More »

Game Day Buzz: Despite lack of role with team, Penguins would be better served to hold onto Jeffrey

 

GAME DAY BUZZ Dustin Jeffrey is a well mannered person who will never publicly say this but you can bet he would not have minded being in Eric Tangradi’s shoes last week and being traded to another team that planned on giving him a better opportunity and regular role in the lineup than he’s getting with the Penguins. Jeffrey has been scratched for 13 of 17 games this season but will return to the lineup tonight in place of Joe Vitale who will be a healthy scratch. With the way he’s viewed by the coaching staff, Jeffrey will probably be back in the press box Sunday night, regardless of how he plays tonight. That’s just how it’s gone for him. Aside from his poor performance against Philadelphia in the season opener on Jan 19, Jeffrey has played well this season and was one of the Penguins best forwards against theRead More »

Caps @ Penguins Game Day Buzz: Letang iffy? Player reactions on Ovechkin; Has Orpik changed his game?

 

WASHINGTON CAPITALS (2-7-1, 5 PTS) @ PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (7-3-0, 14 PTS) POST-MORNING SKATE BUZZ Is Kris Letang’s status for tonight up in the air? Letang left the morning skate early after the Penguins power play session and head coach Dan Bylsma was very coy about whether Letang will play. Letang, though, looked fine on the ice this morning but he obviously has something bothering him. If Letang is a no-go, Dylan Reese will enter the lineup. “{He’s} a guy whose played quite a few NHL games,” Bylsma said. “Skating defenseman and can play a lot of different spots. He’s not a real big guy but is a gritty player with his speed and how he plays the game,” Bylsma said. Bylsma claimed Reese could also see time on “second power play” when he gets in the lineup. WBS teammate (1st part of season) Robert Bortuzzo on Reese. “Good puck mover,”Read More »

Pens – Senators Pre Game Buzz: On race for No. 1 & No. 8 seed; Lovejoy in; Thiessen vs Bishop tonight

 

Pittsburgh Penguins (46-21-6, 98 pts) @ Ottawa Senators (37-28-10, 84 pts) No. 1 seed in Reach Tonight The New York Rangers (46-21-7, 99 pts) have picked the worst time to go through a slump, losing 4-1 last night to the Buffalo Sabres on home ice, setting up a situation tonight where they could fall out of first place for the first time in months. [instory] The Penguins one point behind the Rangers for the East lead, and three back of league-leading St. Louis for the league lead in points, could move into first place with a win tonight and Rangers loss. Following a 4-3, seven game home stand, the Rangers face the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto tonight, and the Penguins have a game in hand. New York is a team that hasn’t been in this position before. They’ve often been scrambling for the 8th or 7th seed, and theRead More »

Pens Practice Notebook: Orpik to make return to lineup vs Panthers

 

Saturday’s Notes — Defenseman Brooks Orpik will make his return to the lineup, Sunday afternoon vs the Florida Panthers, Dan Bylsma confirmed during today’s media session. Orpik has missed the last 13 games and went through his fourth straight practice with the team this morning at Southpointe. Orpik has looked ready for a few days now and Sunday had been considered a pretty good possibility for him to return. The Penguins top-2 pairings will be back together with Brooks Orpik – Kris Letang and Paul Martin – Zbynek Michalek. Bylsma would not hint at who sits tomorrow but logic says Deryk Engelland will be the odd-man out. — Mark Letestu (shoulder) whose been going through individual drills for a few days now, was a full participant in today’s practice. Letestu remains on track to return to the lineup next week, possibly as early as Tuesday night vs the Philadelphia Flyers.