NHL Free Agency: Latest Rumblings


Follow TIOPS on Twitter *The New Jersey Devils have signed Johnny Oduya to a three year deal worth $3.5 million per season. *The Toronto Maple Leafs have heavy interest in Ian Laperrière, Travis Moen and Chris Neil. Leafs GM Brian Burke will look to sign two of the three. At the top of Burke’s wishlist is Travis Moen. It is going to be difficult to lure Moen from the West Coast as he likes living there. The Sharks, Kings, Ducks and Wild also have interest. Neil will draw strong interest from the Panthers, Red Wings who nearly acquired him at the deadline and the Canadiens have Laperriere on their radar. * The Hawks, Rangers, and Oilers are expressing the most interest in Dany Heatley. *Talks with Alexei Kovalev will go down to the wire but expect the two sides to continue negotiations through July 1. A two year offer isRead More »

The Latest Penguins Draft Buzz


Hearing Penguins scouts do not believe Zach Budish will be around when the Penguins select at #30. Budish is getting serious consideration by the St. Louis Blues at #17, Flames (20) and the Flyers (21). Budish is at the top of the Penguins radar as there is some thought he could slip to the 2nd round. *Pittsburgh wants to go winger at #30 but some of their top targets on the wings may not be around. They will go with the best value, regardless of position. *Pittsburgh recently met with draft prospect/winger Jeremy Morin (USDP – 18). Considered one of the better offensive players in the draft, there have been some concerns with some off-ice issues but nothing serious. *I’m told there is no chance that the Penguins trade the rights of Rob Scuderi this weekend. Pittsburgh has received two inquiries

Physical play, strong performances from key role players, fuels 4-2 win


Post-Game Notebook Pittsburgh showed the hockey world Tuesday night that they will not go down lightly, winning a pivotal game 3 and cutting the Red Wings series lead in half. The 2009 Stanley Cup Finals are following the same trend of the 08 finals when Detroit won both games in Detroit, then lost game 3 in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is hopeful game 4 doesn’t follow the trend from last years finals. What the Penguins have now is confidence that they can beat the Red Wings. Even after losing both games in Detroit, the Penguins remained confident heading into game 3 but there was this vibe that it didn’t matter how well they played, Detroit would find a way to win. Pittsburgh gets strong performances from key role players Pittsburgh got strong contributions from key players such as Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Gonchar, Marc Andre Fleury but it was the performance of theirRead More »

Clearing the front of the net an area of focus for the Penguins


Top to bottom the Detroit Red Wings may be the deepest team in the National Hockey League. Where the Red Wings exploited the Penguins last season was their ability to cause havoc in front of the net. Led by gritty winger Tomas Holmstrom, the Red Wings have a “front of the net presence” on their top three lines. Holmstrom caused the Penguins problems in the 08 playoffs and Pittsburgh will have their hands full with Holmstrom again this time around. While Holmstrom will look to establish his presence early in game 1, the Penguins primary concern is going to be tough rugged winger Johan Franzen. Franzen (19 pts) leads the Red Wings in playoff scoring and he is not nicknamed the “Mule” for nothing. Franzen is a force in front of the net and scores a lot of goals in traffic. A third player to keep an eye on willRead More »

Source: Gonchar has “severe” upper right leg contusion


A source close to the team tells me Sergei Gonchar has a severe upper right leg contusion (bruise) not an MCL injury as the star defenseman missed his second consecutive game Monday night. Dan Bylsma speaking to the media after the game, indicated Gonchar is day-to-day as his status for game 7 is unknown. Gonchar will be re-evaluated tomorrow morning and he was at the facility this afternoon getting treatment. We’re told the extent of the injury remains up in air, as treament could have Gonchar back on the ice within a couple days or he could be limited for the next 12-14 days. Everything depends on how Gonchar responds to treatment. The good news is that the injury is not an MLC injury which is being speculated.

Flyers avoid elimination, beat Penguins 3-0


Pittsburgh leads series, 3-2 Marty Biron made 28 saves and the Philadelphia Flyers got timely goals and defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 Thursday night at Mellon Arena to force a game 6 on Saturday. The Penguins jumped on the Flyers early out shooting the Flyers 15-5 in the first period but were unable to get one past Martin Biron who played his best game of the series. The Flyers made adjustments in the final two periods, being aggressive at the blueline and playing stifling defense, limiting the Penguins to 13 shots over the course of the second and third period.

Defensive breakdowns hamper Penguins in game 3 loss


Sidney Crosby said it best regarding the Penguins game 3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers “We battled hard all game and made a few mistakes”, Crosby said, in his post-game comments. After fighting back to tie the game at 2-2 in the second period, the pressure was back on the Flyers who were in a must-win situation Sunday afternoon. What did the Penguins in were defensive breakdowns on the Flyers 3rd and 4th goals. On Claude Giroux’s second period tally

Malkin off to hot start, despite lack of production from line-mates


NHL scoring champion Evgeni Malkin has five points through the Penguins first two playoff games, including a three point effort Friday night in game 2. Malkin is getting points at even strength (2pts) and on the power play (3pts). What’s impressive about his hot start is line-mates Ruslan Fedotenko and Petr Sykora have 0 points through the first two games. Crosby and Malkin have combined for 8 points in two games while Mike Richards and Jeff Carter have combined for only 1 point. Flyers look to build on Game 2 performance The Flyers suffered a devastating loss Friday night but there were some things to take out of that game, that the Flyers will look to build on. Despite giving up 49 shots, the Flyers limited the Penguins scoring chances. To contain the Penguins attack, the Flyers forced

Morning Skate Update; Elias misses morning skate, out for tonight’s game


New Jersey Devils (47-25-4-98) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (41-27-8-90) The Penguins entertain the New Jersey Devils tonight in what may be a preview of a first round matchup between the two division rivals. If the playoffs started today, the Penguins and Devils would faceoff against each other. The Devils currently lead the season series 3-2. There will only be one lineup change from the Penguins. In the morning skate forward