12/28 – Monday Practice Report: Rupp skates with Crosby, Dupuis on top unit

 

Pittsburgh_ The Pittsburgh Penguins went through a 70 minute workout this morning before departing for Buffalo as the Penguins hit the road for a four game road trip that includes back-to-back games against the Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils. Defenseman Alex Goligoski and forward Chris Kunitz did not practice today. Kunitz remains bothered by a nagging knee injury, while Goligoski has a bad back. Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma did indicate he expects both players to participate in Tuesday’s morning skate at Buffalo. Eaton to return to lineup Tuesday night *Defenseman Mark Eaton participated fully in practice today for the 3rd consecutive day. Eaton was paired with Kris Letang in practice and will return to the lineup against Buffalo after missing three games with a right knee injury. *Over the past week, Dan Bylsma has been experimenting with line changes on his top two lines and today in practiceRead More »

Fleury among the league’s best; Penguins winning streak goes to 5

 

Marc Andre Fleury made 31 saves and was 3-for-3 in the shootout as the Pittsburgh Penguins (25-10-1) defeated the Buffalo Sabres (21-10-3) 2-1 Saturday night for their fifth straight win and 25th win of the season. Sabres goaltender Patrick Lalime did his best impression of Ryan Miller making 23 saves and holding the Penguins to one goal in regulation. Kris Letang scored the lone goal for Pittsburgh in the shootout. Sidney Crosby (5-for-6) was stopped by Lalime in the shootout for the first time this season. The big story of the night was Marc Andre Fleury who earned his 21st win of the season. At the young age of 25, Fleury has established himself as one of the top 5 goaltenders in the game. His development over the past two seasons has him right where the Penguins expected him to be when they drafted him 1st overall in 2003. TheRead More »

The Latest Penguins Buzz

 

Since the 2006-2007 season including playoffs, the Pittsburgh Penguins are 23-10 against the Philadelphia Flyers. Pittsburgh moved to 3-0 against Philadelphia this season after Thursday night’s 3-2 shootout win at the Wachovia Center. The Flyers are free falling, currently in last place in the Atlantic Division as Pittsburgh is an astounding 17 pts ahead of Philadelphia in the standings. With the Christmas Trade Freeze starting tomorrow, Philadelphia is working the phones trying to put some deals in place after December 27th. As expected there were 10+ scouts in attendance for last night’s game. *Sidney Crosby has gone from an average goal scorer at best to an elite goal scorer in less than a year. I’ve never seen him get the kind of velocity he had on his second period goal against Philadelphia last night. Crosby is second in the league in goals with 22. *Scouts tell me Chris Kunitz hasRead More »

Role players fueling Penguins 22-10-1 start

 

There are many reasons the Penguins have jumped out to a 22-10-1 start through 33 games. Marc Andre Fleury, Sidney Crosby to name a few but what has really fueled the Penguins hot start is the play of their role players. A stunning stat is projected 3rd and 4th liners Michael Rupp and Pascal Dupuis are tied for second on the team with 9 goals each. In fact, Rupp and Dupuis have combined for more goals than top-6 forwards Ruslan Fedotenko (5), Bill Guerin (7) and Chris Kunitz (3) have combined for. In evaluating this team through 30+ games, Pittsburgh has a much stronger core of secondary wingers (Cooke, Dupuis, Kennedy, Rupp, Talbot) than actual top line wingers. Pittsburgh has found ways to keep winning with a subpar power play after ranking 20th in 2008-2009 and currently 29th. They will continue to do so, at least until the playoffs. However,Read More »

Talbot a healthy scratch?; Kunitz to return

 

I’m being told that the coaching staff is leaning towards making Max Talbot a healthy scratch tonight and that Chris Kunitz will return to the lineup tonight against the Florida Panthers. To no surprise, Kunitz has reclaimed his spot on the top line with Sidney Crosby and Bill Guerin. Kunitz went through a hard skate on Friday and barring a setback this evening when Kunitz will be evaluated prior to gametime, it’s a good bet he returns to the lineup for the first time since November 12th. Kunitz is officially listed by the team as a game time decision. Michael Rupp will be back on the 4th line as Pascal Dupuis will skate with Evgeni Malkin and Ruslan Fedotenko on the second line. As expected, Brent Johnson is a strong candidate to start tonight against the Panthers. All 13 forwards have been told that they will participate in warmups. TalbotRead More »

Wednesday Practice Report: Rupp gets a look on top line

 

Goligoski to return to lineup Thursday night SouthPointe _ Forward Max Talbot has been demoted to the 4th line and the Penguins are exploring the possibility of playing forward Michael Rupp with Sidney Crosby and Bill Guerin tomorrow night against Montreal. Rupp got an extensive look with Crosby, Guerin today in a number of drills as the Penguins prepare for the Montreal Canadiens. Rupp alternated with Chris Kunitz on the left side but the coaching staff is expected to keep Kunitz out of the lineup for at least one more game. The Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal units will remain the same tomorrow night while Max Talbot is expected to skate on the 4th line with Craig Adams and Eric Godard. *Defenseman Alex Goligoski had an excellent practice and will return to the lineup Thursday night. With Goligoski set to return, a defenseman will have to sit but it’s notRead More »

Crosby to return to the lineup; Kunitz takes a step forward

 

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (groin) is participating in the Penguins morning skate as the Penguins prepare to take on the Carolina Hurricanes tonight at Mellon Arena. Crosby missed Saturday’s contest against the Chicago Blackhawks due to a sore groin. Updated: Sidney Crosby will return to the lineup tonight and play on a line with Bill Guerin and Max Talbot. Defenseman Alex Goligoski (groin) is also participating in the morning skate and is close to returning to the lineup. Goligoski has missed the past three games with an injured groin. Goligoski though is the extra defenseman in the morning skate, likely indicating he won’t play.

The Latest Penguins Buzz

 

Center Mark Letestu is not a player whose regarded as being in the Penguins long-term plans or even considered one of the organizations top 10 prospects. Letestu though has the confidence of head coach Dan Bylsma which can go a long way. His ability on face-offs along with some offensive ability has caught the eye of Penguins mangement. He reminds one member of the Penguins organization of Mike Zigomanis but with higher upside. Letestu was 9-for-16 on draws against the Blackhawks and drew the assignment of going up against John Madden at 18:21 of the third period in what led to Jordan Staal’s game tying goal. Letestu’s stay in Pittsburgh will be short as Sidney Crosby expected to return to the lineup by Thursday night but Pittsburgh likes the fact that he’s a right handed centerman as Craig Adams has struggled this season on draws. Letestu could groom into aRead More »

Kennedy has minor setback; Return pushed back

 

Winger Tyler Kennedy (groin/hip) has suffered a minor setback and his return to the lineup has been pushed back until Friday against the New York Islanders at the earliest. Kennedy has not played since Tuesday, November 3rd against Anaheim. Kennedy skated on his own Thursday at Mellon Arena for the first time since Pittsburgh’s morning skate in Los Angeles on November 5th. Kennedy joined the Penguins on Saturday for their morning skate and went through a rigorous workout on Sunday. He did not respond well enough and will be held out for at least two more games. Kennedy was hopeful to play tonight against Florida. *Defenseman Kris Letang will receive