Polamalu was a once-in-a-decade type player, Jagr helps Pens, Management Incompetence & more in Today’s TIOPS Daily Five


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. Troy Polamalu retiring was always the expected ending since the season ended, though, it just took a little time for it to become official. There will be no retirement press conference for the 33 year old Polamalu, and Jim Wexell of the Herald Standard who Troy broke the news to, believes the next time you hear Troy speak regarding a football matter it will be his Hall of Fame induction. That’s if he even shows to that. If that’s the case, that is so Polamalu. It was never about him. He was a unique player on the field but also a unique player off the field. Polamalu was so different from the football culture and mentality that so many players are accustomed of portraying. The NFL will probably never see another individual like Polamalu again. Man! @tpolamalu was the 1st person to introduceRead More »

Confidence in Pens ownership to get things right? Rutherford sought the next Jon Cooper, “Win at all cost” mentality & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. Those with their jobs on the lines are said to be on pins and needles this week in the Penguins organization. Many are expecting Ron Burkle to flex his muscles and make sweeping changes once again. Burkle was the primary figure in firing Ray Shero after David Morehouse tried to push for it all the way back to June of 2013. A source says Burkle is furious over what transpired at the trade deadline after two players ownership wanted, Jaromir Jagr and Mark Letestu, were not pursued and the cap situation of playing shorthanded has been one of the tipping points. There is going to be a pretty big shakeup in the front office. The Penguins play with Burkle’s money and turned the organization over to a GM they were forced to settle on after Pat Brisson, Pierre McGuire and Julien Brisbois declinedRead More »

It’s going to get worse before it gets better, the disaster of Ben Lovejoy, Malkin trade talk, Josh Harrison & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. It’s been clear for a while now that the Pittsburgh Penguins are a group that just doesn’t know how to win. Last night’s game was another perfect example of that. From the head coach to the players, they are a group that has no answers and remain a mentally weak group when there’s a push back or the going gets tough. Some Quotes out of last night’s game: Scuderi: “We’ve been a very fragile group for a couple of weeks.” — Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_Trib) April 8, 2015 Paul Martin: “I don’t have any answers right now.” — Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_Trib) April 8, 2015 Sutter: “It seems like a couple of bad breaks is all it takes to gets us off our game.” — Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_Trib) April 8, 2015 Yet, the head coach felt the Penguins were very good for “3/4” of theRead More »

First sign of trouble for Penguins started mid-season in changing playing style, type of team they initially wanted to be & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. The first sign of trouble for the Penguins that the head coach and general manager were overmatched started around late December. When Mike Johnston was hired he touted the Penguins being a puck possession and a tempo and pace team. “My basic framework of the system is puck possession, puck management, tempo and pace,” Johnston said at his inductory press conference last June. “We want to give our players as many options as possible. I’m more inclined in teams I’ve coached over the years, to really play a pace game. I want to play a pace game. Certainly like core of players here, defense and forward to play that style of game. Think Pittsburgh was built on the makeup of that style,” Johnston said. The key area that’s missing for months now is tempo and pace. The first five to six weeks ofRead More »

Jim Rutherford’s future with Penguins viewed as 50/50 at best and more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. No matter how embarrassing it would look for Penguins ownership to fire a new coach and general manager after one season, owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle want to get things right, and if that means parting ways with Mike Johnston and Jim Rutherford after the season, they will do it without thinking twice, Inside Pittsburgh Sports has learned. Barring a dramatic turnaround and the Penguins making a serious Stanley Cup run, Mike Johnston’s future with the team is over, and Jim Rutherford’s future is said to be 50/50 at best. “Jim made his bed with Mike,” a high ranking source said. “Everything will be on the table.” Penguins ownership is not sold that Rutherford isn’t the right guy, but they also aren’t sold that he’s the right guy for the job after just one season. From the mangling of the cap, hisRead More »

Ovechkin surpassing Lemieux? Pivotal “response” Weekend for Penguins, Rushing back from injuries, Cervelli & more in today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. Last weekend was looked at as a turning point by some for the Penguins, yet, it didn’t exactly play out that way Wednesday night as the Penguins were out-worked and outplayed in a 4-1 loss to the Flyers. The Penguins have currently fell to the top wild card spot and would face the Montreal Canadiens if the playoffs started today. This weekend is turning into again another crucial two games when it comes to playoff position or falling in danger of missing the post-season. Two regulation losses by the Penguins  to Columbus, Philadelphia, and if Ottawa goes at least 1-1 this weekend, suddenly Tuesday’s game against Ottawa is going to be much more important than anyone thought. What you hear out of the organization right now is this group of players lacks “pride.” Playing without Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang again Saturday afternoonRead More »

Players needing to question effort level huge red flag, a bad trend that continues, leadership & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. The Penguins were playing with five defensemen again, had 17 skaters and were missing Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin. Last night was never going to be about what the scoreboard said at the end. What’s disturbing is you have a team that internally believes it’s a Stanley Cup team, at least Jim Rutherford believes so, and with five games now left in the regular season, you have veteran players, coaches on the team forced to blast the effort level. Although the eye test last night obviously showed the Penguins did not work hard in the loss, it surely could have been written off as the Penguins were shorthanded, but the players afterwards made a story of it (effort level) and that’s a huge red flag that they feel it needs addressed this late in the season. “We have to go out there andRead More »

Kasperi Kapanen to the rescue? Coaches compensation, Ovechkin, World Series talk & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* View image | gettyimages.com 1. Kasperi Kapanen to the rescue? The Penguins are in the process of bringing their 2014 first round pick to North America and join the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins, which has been the plan all along once his season ended. A few logistics are being worked out between the Penguins and the agent. As expected, the agent is looking for a way to burn a season on Kapanen’s deal. For Kalpa, Kapanen went from 7 goals and 14 points in 2013-2014 up to 11 goals, 21 points this season for Kalpa. Kapanen, though, is viewed by scouts as wearing down as the season went on and had 5 points in his final 24 regular season game but his production did tick up in the playoffs, with 5 assists in five games, something Jim Rutherford touted to Jenn Menendez yesterday of theRead More »

Pens dead last in young contributions, Under-the-radar Hart Trophy Candidate, Polanco Talks & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. The Globe and Mail did a study on which NHL teams have the highest contributions from young players (24 years old or younger) and the lowest. The Tampa Bay Lightning were No. 1, the New Islanders No. 3 in the study of teams with the highest contributions from players 24 years old or younger. The team that ranked dead last in contributions from young players, the Pittsburgh Penguins. James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail writes: “Sid is a kid no longer. And the Penguins remaining in a win-now mode for years has really hurt their ability to incorporate youth in a significant way. With Sidney Crosby approaching 28 and Evgeni Malkin already there, Pittsburgh’s core is moving out of its prime as the NHL continues to get younger and younger. The highest-scoring Penguin 24 and under this season has been defenceman SimonRead More »

Crosby starting to get that “IT” factor back? Letang situation, X-Factor for the Pirates & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. From the penalty kill in overtime, the Penguins performance last night was a great story in the team effort they got in playing with five defenseman but one win against a non-playoff team shouldn’t take away the criticism the front office deserves for the salary cap debacle. Ray Shero put the team in a tough spot going into this season but Jim Rutherford and the Shero left overs are also to blame for the situation the Penguins are in now. It started in the summer when they over-extended in free agency when they had around $3 million (per season) budgeted for an impact free agent, money that was discussed with Nikolai Kulemin and defenseman Tom Gilbert, but once Christian Ehrhoff became available, Jim Rutherford became fixated on Ehrhoff, a player he coveted for years. The extra $1 million for Ehrhoff than they hadRead More »