Game 2 Morning Skate update: Eric Cole to play; Ruutu out for tonight’s game

 

Morning Skate Updates Pittsburgh The Penguins just concluded their morning skate as the team prepares for game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The top four lines were the same with Pascal Dupuis working in with Craig Adams and Miroslav Satan. Head Coach Dan Bylsma will make a game time decision on whether he will dress seven defensemen tonight. Sergei Gonchar is nearing full health and played just under 22 minutes in game 1. That will go into Dan Bylsma’s thinking. Carolina Hurricanes The Hurricanes just took the ice and Carolina Hurricanes forward Eric Cole is skating and it appears he will give it a go for tonight’s game.  Cole is skating with Matt Cullen and Chad Larose. I’m told that Cole’s skating, lateral movement looks good and unless he suffers a setback this afternoon, expect to see Cole in the lineup. Tuomo Ruutu is not skating and team officials haveRead More »

Lovejoy emerging as one of the Penguins top 5 prospects

 

The Carolina Hurricanes believe Matt Cooke’s knee-to-knee hit on Eric Cole in the third period of Game 1 should be reviewed by the league. All indications are the the league has no interest in dishing out a fine or suspension to Cooke. If the NHL were to suspend or fine Matt Cooke, it would look like they were giving star treatment to Alexander Ovechkin for his knee-to-knee hit on Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar. Sergei Gonchar played just under 22 minutes in game 1 and his upper right leg contusion is improving everyday. Pittsburgh held an optional practice Tuesday morning and will go through a full squad practice Wednesday morning. There’s some speculation that a few teams could target defenseman Ben Lovejoy (RFA) with an offer sheet this summer. Lovejoy, 25, (7g-24a-31pts, +42) is a late bloomer and the Penguins received a lot of calls about Lovejoy prior

Hurricanes confident after Game 1 loss

 

The Carolina Hurricanes were a confident team following Monday’s 3-2 loss and with two days off, they will look at the positives from game 1. After Pittsburgh dictated the play in the 1st period, jumping out to a 2-0 lead, the Hurricanes were able to weather the storm and play even with the Penguins for the final 40 minutes. After Joe Corvo cut the Penguins lead to 3-2 with less than two minutes remaining in the game, the Hurricanes were a puck bouncing off of Eric Staal’s stick in front of a wide open net from forcing over-time. The goaltending matchup was nearly even with Marc Andre Fleury one up on Cam Ward. Two concerns for the Hurricanes going into game 2 1. Secondary Scoring – Relying on Eric Staal to carry the Hurricanes offensively will not get it done against the Penguins. Staal does not have a top flightRead More »

Ruutu, Cole to be re-evaluated on Tuesday

 

Two key forwards, Tuomo Ruutu and Eric Cole each suffered injuries in Carolina’s 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh Penguins in game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Ruutu was injured in the 1st period and did not return to the game. We’re told he suffered an ankle injury and will likely be held off the ice for the next couple days. The Hurricanes will practice Tuesday morning at 11:30 a.m. Winger Eric Cole who is scoreless in the post-season suffered a knee injury in a collision with Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke. Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice was angry after the game, believed Cooke should have been called for a penalty and claimed it was a “knee-to-knee” hit. Cook defended himself calling

Post-Game Notebook: Fleury answers the bell in Game 1

 

If game 1 is any indication, the Eastern Conference Finals will be goalie duel between Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc Andre Fleury and Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward. There has been a lot of talk going into the series that the Hurricanes hold a significant advantage in goal as Ward is a former Conn Smythe Trophy winner and has never lost a playoff series. As Fleury showed in last year’s second round series against New York’s Henrik Lundqvist, he is up to the task of matching another marquee goaltender save for save. Fleury made 23 saves in Pittsburgh’s Game 1 win but it was the timely saves that garnered Fleury praise after the game. “Fleury came up with some timely saves early to settle them down and give them the opportunity to get going, and once they get going they’re a very quick team,” Ward said. “Unbelievable performance. He’s been there allRead More »

Post-Game Report

 

Penguins Post-Game Report Very good turnout for Penguins fans tonight at the RBC center In the locker room following the game, the Penguins felt they played good enough to win. They were disappointed not to leave Carolina with two points but they did get a much needed point. In his post-game comments, Sidney Crosby talked about how the Penguins ran into a good goaltender but felt if the Penguins continue to play at the level they did tonight, “he likes their chances.” The Florida Panthers (87  pts) will be in a must-win situation Sunday afternoon. Interim coach Dan Bylsma remains non-committal on who will start in goal but sources tell me Fleury will start. Fleury has been pushing to play both games this weekend Jordan Staal is playing his best hockey of his career right now but he needs to improve

Are the Hurricanes a Stanley Cup contender?

 

The Carolina Hurricanes (43-28-7, 93 pts) won a season-high seventh straight game in a 4-2 win over the New York Rangers at the RBC Center Thursday night to set up a showdown with the Pittsburgh Penguins (42-27-8, 92 pts) Saturday night. The Penguins and Hurricanes are separated by one point as the Hurricanes win pushed the Penguins back to the #6 spot in the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes and Penguins are currently viewed as two teams in the Eastern Conference that no one wants to play. The Hurricanes have depth upfront and a Stanley Cup goaltender but do they have enough depth on the blue line to be considered a true playoff threat that could make a deep run? The addition of Eric Cole has given the Hurricanes three scoring lines and goaltender Cam Ward is playing at a higher level than he was during his 2006 Stanley Cup playoffRead More »

The Latest NHL Buzz

 

Pressure on agents not to set the market before July 1 With the uncertainty of the salary for next season and beyond, there continues to be significant pressure on agents who represent mid-tier free agents. The top tier players like Marian Hossa and Jay Bouwmeester are going to get their money. The wild cards are players like Martin Havlat, Eric Cole and Petr Sykora. Agent Allan Walsh represents two key wingers set to hit the open market in Martin Havlat and Petr Sykora. It is believed agents around the league don’t want to see Havlat settling for anything under

The Latest Penguins Buzz

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins ( 29-26-6) enter Monday morning in 10th place in the Eastern Conference and four points out of the playoffs. The Penguins have given up 22 goals in their last five games. The NHL trade deadline is nine days away and the Penguins have four games remaining before the March 4th deadline. The Penguins have not ruled out adding a physical defenseman at the deadline. Ray Shero‚Äôs philosophy has been all about the Penguins young core since he was named General Manager in 2006. Shero has contended that by locking up Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Ryan Whitney, Marc Andre Fleury and Jordan Staal, the Penguins would be serious contenders every season. The Penguins have $30.4 million committed to their young core for the 2009-2010 season and since the Penguins have so many needs (not just a scoring winger), Shero is now willing to part with some of hisRead More »

NHL: Hurricanes, Bruins, Sabres pursuing Eric Cole

 

RW Eric Cole | 57 GP | 13G -10A – 23PTS | Currently the Penguins are not in on Edmonton Oilers forward Eric Cole, nor do I don’t expect them to be but the Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins remain in talks with the Oilers about the under-achieving forward. The Oilers are seeking immediate help in return and are only interested in moving Cole to the Eastern Conference