Morning Skate Buzz: Help on the way

 

Morning Skate Buzz The St. Louis Blues (23-19-5, 51pts) come to town tonight in unfamiliar territory for a Ken Hitchcock coached team. They’re a poor defensive team with bad goaltending. The Blues 26th in the NHL in goals against, have lost three straight and allowed 18 goals during that span. The Penguins meanwhile, have won four straight and starting to find their stride again just before the all-star break. There was some thought the Penguins may get Marc Andre Fleury a start tonight but that won’t be the case. Murray will make his fifth straight start, looking to improve to 10-0-1 at home. Latest Injury Buzz on Dumoulin/Letang As mentioned last week, team doctors had a recovery timetable for Kris Letang to be around 2 weeks. He’s right on schedule and may dress Thursday night in Boston.

Ben Roethlisberger says he might retire

 

Few are going to buy it, but a stunning revelation from Ben Roethlisberger moments ago in not fully committing to playing next season. Roethlisberger said on 937 The Fan he is open to retirement and did not commit that he’ll be back. “Uncertain on future, not sure there’s going to be a next season,” Roethlisberger said. “When pressed by the Ron Cook, Roethlisberger still left the door open to retirement, saying he needs to evaluate things with his family, though, he did talk a lot about next season during the course of the interview. “I’m going

The Blame Game: Mike Mitchell threw coaches under the bus

 

The Blame Game A 36-17 loss in the AFC Championship was going to lead to a ton of blame going around in Steelers country. From the local media/talk shows to the national pundits, Mike Tomlin and Keith Butler have been getting crushed for being unprepared and out-coached at every avenue, while Todd Haley rightfully so is also no stranger to criticism for his offense again underachieving on the road and Haley falling into a trap of overthinking things with his play calling. But, who knew the players would join the fray in saying the Steelers were unprepared for things like tempo, trick plays. 2nd year linebacker Bud Dupree came out and said the Steelers weren’t prepared for the Patriots to play with the type of tempo and pace they did from the first snap, indicating the Steelers were caught “off-guard”, though, he did say the Steelers had a “great game plan”. RookieRead More »

NHL Source: Vegas third mock draft this week will have one notable Penguin exposed

 

Latest Penguins Buzz The Vegas Golden Knights are running their third mock draft Tuesday in preparation for the June 20 expansion draft. Vegas spent last week putting together the protected list of all 30 teams based on their current intel. An NHL source with knowledge of the Golden Knights decision making, says one change from their December mock draft pertaining to the Penguins is Vegas has

Ranking the Steelers Top Free Agents for 2017

 

Ranking Steelers 2017 Free Agents (Unrestricted Free Agents) 1. RB Le’Veon Bell | 1,268 rushing yards, 7 Touchdowns | Bell the NFL’s top ranked free agent had 1,884 total yards in 2016 and is looking to top Adrian Peterson’s average/year salary of $14 million. As he rapped this summer, he wants that ‘$15 million’. Due to the franchise tag he won’t be going anywhere for 2017. For now, the sense is he’s more likely to come back next season on the franchise tag than a long-term deal. Bell turns 25 in February and the concern for the Steelers doing a significant long-term deal is running backs have a shelf life. Bell has had two major knee injuries. Whether it’s this summer or next, Pittsburgh will be more interested in a $10-$12 million a year type contract than the $14-$15 million per the Bell camp seeks. One thing that will helpRead More »

Penguins – Bruins: Crosby Line Dominates, Murray sensational in 5-1 win

 

Did the Penguins seal Claude Julien’s Fate The highest scoring team in the NHL was at it again, putting up five goals in a 5-1 win over the Boston Bruins. Tuukka Rask exited the game for undisclosed reasons after allowing 2 goals on 22 shots. The Penguins then torched backup goaltender Zane McIntyre in the third period, scoring 3 goals on their first eight shots against McIntyre. This game was the story of the Bruins season. Boston outshot Pittsburgh 46-35, had a massive 87-48 edge in shot attempts. They just can’t score. Claude Julien has been coaching on a day-to-day basis and his job security will be the hottest topic in the NHL tonight. Last year Bruins GM Don Sweeney was widely known to be very intrigued about hiring Mike Milbury when Boston last winter considered firing Julien. He was believed to be talked out of going the Milbury routeRead More »

AFC Championship Sunday: The Makings of an Upset?

 

  AFC Championship Sunday Line: Patriots -6 The week seven matchup between the Steelers and Patriots was not a playoff preview of what to expect tonight. The Ben Roethlisberger-less Pittsburgh Steelers were competitive in a 27-16 loss to the New England Patriots but wasted opportunities doomed Pittsburgh from being able to put together a good enough effort to steal one. Pittsburgh had 10 penalties for 85 yards, including a holding call on right tackle Chris Hubbard in the second quarter on a touchdown pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey that would have tied the game late in the first half. Backup QB Landry Jones was 29/47 for 281 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception in the loss. Antonio Brown led the Steelers with 105 receiving yards on 7 receptions. Pittsburgh out-gained New England 375 to 362 and won the time of possession battle. The Steelers missed opportunities on offense were penalties,Read More »

Hurricanes Back and Forth interest in Marc Andre Fleury

 

Team Defense/Play Away from the Puck shines Pittsburgh’s 7-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes had former Penguin Jordan Staal saying the Penguins made the Hurricanes look like a “high school” team and multiple Canes players echoing the word embarrassing on their performance. “It was a team that made us look like a high school team,” Staal said via the News & Observer. The Penguins are so explosive offensively that when they find that other gear combined with playing smothering defense from their play away from the puck like they did Friday night, it can be a lethal combination, especially against inferior teams. The last two games have been the recipe that made Pittsburgh so hard to beat four times in a series last spring. Scoring throughout the lineup, a commitment from the forwards to play all three zones and stability in goal from Matt Murray. Even with the Penguins missingRead More »

Game 44: Penguins – Canadiens by the Numbers

 

Penguins 4 – Canadiens 1 Goal Summary 1st Period PIT 14:52 Ian Cole (3) | Assists: Evgeni Malkin (29), Patric Hornqvist (15) 2nd Period PIT 5:19 Eric Fehr (6) | Assists: Chris Kunitz (14), Scott Wilson (7) PIT 17:38 Jake Guentzel (4) | Assists: Cameron Gaunce (1), Patric Hornqvist (2) MTL 18:11 Sven Andrighetto (2) | Assists: Alex Emelin (5), Artturi Lehkonen (5) 3rd Period PIT 15:36 Olli Maatta (1) | Assists: Conor Sheary (16) 81 Olli Maatta had gone about a full-season of games without scoring a goal until tonight. Maatta’s third period goal was his first goal of the season and first goal in 81 games (including playoffs). 32 Jake Guentzel has 32 goals in 61 career pro hockey games (AHL/NHL) including post-season. He had 40 goals in 108 career collegiate games. 5 Eric Fehr’s fifth even strength goal of the season vs the Canadiens, ties him withRead More »

Penguins – Canadiens Breakdown: Dominance below the dots

 

Penguins overwhelm Habs below the dots In snapping a three road losing streak, the Penguins played a style tonight in their 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens that as Mike Sullivan said afterwards — ‘makes them harder to play against’. — Shots in the game were just a 26-20 advantage Pittsburgh with the Canadiens having a 51-49 edge in 5 v 5 shot attempts. Where the Penguins overwhelmed the Canadiens was below the dots, with great net-front play, creating offense behind the goal line that led to goals and winning battles for the puck when out-numbered. While the Penguins were often playing on the right side of the puck defensively, the Canadiens were not. Pittsburgh opened the scoring with an Ian Cole goal at 14:52 of the first period. Key plays on the goal was a controlled entry by Evgeni Malkin then a net-front presence by Patric Hornqvist with a littleRead More »