NHL Source: Danis Zaripov camp waiting for response from Penguins


Latest on Danis Zaripov Will Evgeni Malkin get his wish and have Danis Zaripov flanking his left wing on opening night? The ball is in the Penguins court, NHL sources say. The Danis Zaripov camp informed the Penguins last week that Pittsburgh is one of two teams Zaripov wants to sign with, Inside Pittsburgh Sports has learned. In fact, sources tell TIOPS Zaripov’s camp even made a

Headliners: Guentzel’s 5 point night, Two bottom-6 centers separating from the pack


Penguins 6 – Red Wings 5 (OT) — Justin Schultz scored 27 seconds into overtime as the Penguins defeated the Detroit Red Wings 6-5 on Wednesday night at the PPG Paints Arena — Headliners — Jake Guentzel assisted on Schultz OT winner to cap off a 5 point night. Guentzel led the way for Pittsburgh with a goal, 4 assists. What will Guentzel do for an encore this season? Those into fantasy hockey, draft him early. — Center Adam Johnson continues to impress through the first week of camp. His blazing speed was on display and capitalized with a 2 goal night and had 6 shots on goal. At 5 vs 5, Johnson was on the ice for 11 shot attempts and 6 against. How Johnson fares later in the preseason against stiffer competition is going to tell the story but the rookie has everyone’s attention and has emerged intoRead More »

Penguins – Sabres: Early front-runner for bottom-6 center emerging?


Penguins Post-Game Reactions Do we have an early front runner for one of the Penguins two open bottom-6 center spots? One observer tells TIOPS Pittsburgh’s best line on the night was the Hagelin-McKegg-Sprong and the line was especially effective with zone entries. McKegg’s strength as a skater and hockey smarts in getting on the puck with speed and good angles was on display and he earned praised afterwards from the man who will be calling the shots on whether he earns a role in Pittsburgh or not. “I thought McKegg

Regression of star players under Clint Hurdle a Major Concern that was Overlooked by Pirates Brass


Did the Pirates jump the gun in extending Clint Hurdle this month? As the Pirates organization has tried to sugar coat this season that the record you see isn’t an accurate picture of what this team really is, the Pirates are what their record says it is. A 68-84 ball club that is climbing closer to the cellar of the NL Central with a seventh straight loss Tuesday night to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers who no one saw coming as a legitimate playoff contender in 2017, have moved 1.5 games back of the Colorado Rockies for the second wildcard. Bob Nutting awarding four year extensions to Clint Hurdle and Neal Huntington this month can be looked at on one end as Nutting sticking with his guys who got this organization to three straight playoff appearances. Bringing them back to lengthy extensions also makes them punching bags for what’s headingRead More »

Latest Steelers Buzz: Cam Heyward playing best ball of career, is a Timmons return likely?


Latest Steelers Talking Points — It’s only two games but Cam Heyward might finally be living up to that $59 million contract the Steelers dished out in 2015. Heyward had one quarterback pressure and four hurries vs the Vikings and has been unstoppable against the run. Getting the type of explosive push he’s possessing through two games, I’m not sure we’ve ever seen from him. This is a man on a mission after seeing his 2016 season cut short. And Heyward’s not even the Steelers best defensive end. That honor and Steelers coaches will agree goes to Stephon Tuitt. If Tuitt gets back healthy soon and Heyward can maintain this level, look out. As for Tuitt, he went from just nine days ago to potentially being lost for the season to now having a shot at playing this week in Chicago. “It’s a lot better, the confidence in it isRead More »

Training Camp Buzz: 5 Players under the Microscope with questions on what the future holds


5 Players Under the Microscope LW Carl Hagelin A $4 million cap hit for the next two seasons, Hagelin had a dismal offensive season in 2016-2017 with 6 goals and 22 points in 61 games and the dominant possession game from 2015-2016 wasn’t there. Injuries then made him a non-factor for much of the playoffs where he was a healthy scratch for stretches of the playoffs before turning in a strong performance in the Penguins Stanley Cup clinching win in Game 6. Hagelin is bad value at his contract because of the inconsistent offensive production that saw the Rangers trade him entering his peak years and then the Anaheim Ducks after just a couple months. Where opinions differ on Hagelin is usually between coaches and upper management. “Carl’s a replacement level player but coaches who have had him admit Then there’s Defenseman Olli Maatta What does the future hold forRead More »

Are the Steelers preserving James Harrison for later in the season?


Latest Steelers Buzz Will James Harrison become part of the Steelers defense in 2017? Harrison was a force for the Steelers down the stretch in their run to the AFC title Game last season. After the Cowboys loss to fall to 4-5 and the Steelers season spiraling out of control, the change to Harrison in the starting lineup played a big part in transforming the defense. Circumstances have changed quickly in 2017 as Harrison might as well been inactive vs the Browns and Vikings. Through two games the Steelers are getting to the quarterback better than have in years with 12.5 sacks. T.J. Watt is a more impactful player than Steelers thought he would be this early and Harrison’s not going to be given a chance to take away Watt’s reps. The 2016 version of Harrison was still pretty good and things appear to set up perfectly for Harrison toRead More »

Latest Penguins Buzz: Pens, Bruins to re-ignite trade talks?


Latest Penguins Buzz While Penguins GM Jim Rutherford fully expects to add an impact third line center at somepoint before the trade deadline and it’s not ruled out that move comes before opening night, though unlikely, the Penguins have taken the right route this summer and into training camp in avoiding to make a move to just make a move. Among guys out there actively available the Penguins could have acquired already sources say is Detroit’s Riley Sheahan. Sheahan, though, is nowhere near at the top of the Penguins wishlist and is not one of the three primary targets the Penguins are waiting to see that becomes available. ” If the Penguins wanted to acquire a player who doesn’t create high danger opportunities and is more of a 4th line caliber center than a 3rd line center, the team can just sign training camp invite Jay McClement who’s a strongRead More »

Training Camp Buzz: Young wingers to get early looks with Crosby and Malkin


Training Camp Buzz The Pittsburgh quest for a three peat is officially underway as the team opened training camp today. The early focus for the coaching staff in practices and the first couple preseason games will be giving young players playing time with the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. With Patric Hornqvist sidelined for the start of camp, Crosby opened camp centering Dominik Simon and Jake Guentzel. It’s a long way until opening night but it’s a nice opportunity for Simon to open some eyes early in camp. Simon, 23, had 15 goals and 46 points in 70 games for Wilkes Barre, after a 25 goal season in 2015-2016. What the Penguins are intrigued about is the high-end puck skills. He has very good vision and playmaking ability to create high danger chances. The Penguins are locked in to play Jake Guentzel with Sidney Crosby but the teamRead More »

Scouts Buzz: On Daniel Sprong, Zach Aston-Reese & Teddy Blueger


Latest Prospects Buzz The Pittsburgh Penguins rookie tournament continues today. The games can be followed at pittsburghpenguins.com. Here’s some feedback from one NHL evaluator on three notable Penguin prospects from the tournament: On Daniel Sprong: “He’s too good for that tournament,” the NHL source said. “When he gets open ice down the wing he can push defenders back with speed and you have to be on notice because of the puck skills. A lot to like in the As for the key question marks surrounding Sprong’s game that will dictate how soon he’ll be an NHL regular? “[For me] how quick he gets to the NHL comes down to how he adapts without the puck. He doesn’t play a ‘lick On Teddy Blueger: “He’s on the fast track [to the NHL],” the source said. Two reasons why — “High hockey IQ and two-way play” “Coaches love young guys they canRead More »