On Crosby/Guentzel; Letang, Lack of Confidence in Daniel Sprong 5-on-5 & More Buzz:


More Takeaways from Opening Night 1. An under-the-radar storyline from opening night was how good Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel were. Both had just 2 points, Guetnzel with two goals and Crosby two assists, but it could have been a 5 point night for both players. Crosby was flying all night and was on the ice for 4 Goals For and just 1 against. Keep Guentzel next to Crosby and this is what you’re going to get a lot of nights. Guentzel does not have an elite skill set but his elite hockey sense is in the mold of Marian Hossa, coaches around the NHL feel, where he can think the game near Crosby’s level. That’s why these two are so good together when it comes to the little things they do on the ice. Guentzel’s 2-goal effort highlighted again how he is always in the right spots and it’sRead More »

Penguins – Capitals Fallout: Brassard line is building something


Penguins – Capitals Fallout: Strong signs continue for Simon-Brassard-Rust This isn’t an overreaction to one game. The Penguins are building something with their third line of Dominik Simon – Derick Brassard – Bryan Rust. Whether it’s been practice, a couple preseason games or now one regular season game, this line meshes so we’ll they looked like they’ve been together for months. Penguin coaches over the summer looked at tape on Brassard, mostly as a member of the New York Rangers during the 2013-2014 season to formulate the proper group of wingers around him. They strongly believe they’ve found the right mix. As mentioned here in July, sources say the line that was studied by the staff from the 13-14 season was Pouliot – Brassard – Zuccarello, a line that was a major difference maker for the Rangers that season to reaching the Cup Final, where Brassard also had one ofRead More »

Defense is optional tonight for Penguins – Capitals


Penguins 7 – Capitals 6 (F/OT) — Kris Letang scored a 4-on-3 power play goal in overtime to deliver a thrilling 7-6 Penguins win — PIT GOAL SCORERS: 1st: J. Oleksiak (1) 1:49 ; J. Guentzel (1) 7:27 (PPG) 2nd: K. Letang (1) 0:30; P. Hornqvist (1); J. Guentzel (2) 15:09; D. Brassard (1) 16:58; 3rd: E. Malkin (1) 2:45 OT: K. Letang 1:20  WSH GOAL SCORERS: 1st: J. Vrana (1) 3:30 B. Orpik (1) 4:18 A. Ovechkin (2) 8:00 2nd: J. Carlson (2) 3:54 3rd: T. Oshie (1) 13:01; T. Oshie (2) 13:22 PIT LEADERS Kris Letang | 2 Goals, 1 Assist Evgeni Malkin | Goal, 2 Assists Jake Guentzel | 2 Goals, 5 SOG Sidney Crosby | 2 Assists, +2, 5 SOG Brian Dumoulin | 2 Assists Justin Schultz | 2 Assists Possession Leaders (Top-5) Dominik Simon | 78% (15/4) Derick Brassard | 75% (20/7) Bryan Rust |Read More »

The Expectation Game at Forward: Season Projections for Opening Night Roster


FORWARDS LINE 1: Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Patric Hornqvist Jake Guentzel | 17-18 Season: 22 Goals, 48 Pts | Projections: 29 Goals, 67 Pts | Buzz: Guentzel starred once again in the 2018 postseason with 10 goals and 11 assists in 12 playoff games. We all know about his great production in the postseason. In the present, what the Penguins are looking for is more consistency in the regular season. There’s a lot at stake here. Guentzel and the Penguins know what a 65 type point season will mean for Guentzel this coming summer, a likely payday in the $5+ million range on a long-term deal. The player is extremely motivated for a big season, changing some habits away from the rink with his brother moving in with him to help the daily rigors of being a young professional athlete, and if Guentzel stays in a role asRead More »

Opening Night Takeaways: Caps Celebration continues, Matthews will get $12.5-$13 million per season


NHL OPENING NIGHT TAKEAWAYS WSH 7 – BOS 0 (F) TOR 3 – MTL 2 (OT) VAN 5 – CGY 2 (F) ANA 5 – SJ 2 (F) The celebration continues in Washington At least for one night, no Stanley Cup hangover in Washington. Alex Ovechkin and the defending Champs raised their Stanley Cup banner and roared to a 7-0 thrashing of the Boston Bruins. Washington scored 24 seconds into the game on a T.J. Oshie goal and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored a 1:23 later as the Capitals led 2-0 just a 1:47 into the game. They never took the gas off the pedal. Kuznetsov had 2 goals in the win and Nicklas Backstrom added 3 assists to lead the way for Washington. The obvious storylines for the Capitals entering the season is what type of Stanley Cup hangover if any they will habe and the loss of Tom Wilson. NeitherRead More »

Preseason Game 5 Takeaways: Comfort level evolving for Brassard line; Where Sprong’s hold on 4th line spot stands & more buzz


GAME LEADERS Phil Kessel | 2 Goals Kris Letang | Goal, 5 Shots Derick Brassard | Goal, 3 Shots Matt Cullen | Goal Matt Murray | 21 Saves In what is expected to be their final dress rehearsal before next Thursday night’s opener, the Penguins as a whole had the type of performance you want to see in a 5-1 win over the Sabres on Wednesday night. Pittsburgh played fast and explosive in beating the Sabres up and down ice in all three zones. Don’t be mistaken, this was a big-time watered down Sabres lineup that was on the ice at PPG Paints Arena. No Jack Eichel, no Jeff Skinner or no Rasmus Dahlin, amongst others, but for the Penguins encouraging signs from some lines/groupings carried over from practice to Wednesday’s game. Most notably the Simon-Brassard-Rust line. Coaches have loved what they’ve seen from the line in practices and thereRead More »

Steelers – Bucs What We Learned: Backyard Ben at his Best


What We Learned: Backyard Ben is here to stay PIT GAME LEADERS QB Ben Roethlisberger | 30/38, 353 YDS, 3 TD/ 1INT | WR Juju Smith-Schuster | 9 REC – 116 YDS TE Vance McDonald | 4 REC – 112 YDS – 1 TD 1. Pittsburgh’s 30-27 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will help slow down all the Steelers demise talk for a week and maybe the Steelers will go drama free for a day here. The Steelers week 3 performance, though, brought more of the same then significant glimpses of optimism. They are what they are. An offense that has great stretches of brilliance and some lulls at inopportune times. A defense that even when getting four turnovers, still gets torched for 411 yards against the pass and can’t stop anybody. An undisciplined team with 13 penalties for 155 yards. Yet, the Steelers are going to be inRead More »

Penguins lines/D-Groupings starting to trend towards what we’ll see opening night


FORWARDS 1st: Guentzel – Crosby – Hornqvist 2nd: Hagelin – Malkin – Kessel 3rd: Simon – Brassard – Rust 4th: Cullen – Sheahan – Sprong 5th: Aston-Reese – Grant – Dea Defensemen DuMoulin – Letang Oleksiak – Schultz Maatta – Johnson Riikola – Ruhwedel/Trotman What to make of the Penguins practice lines/groupings on Tuesday? It’s starting to trend more towards what we’ll see on opening night. The Daniel Sprong experiment on the top-line looks over for now. As expected, Patric Hornqvist is back on the top line with Crosby and Guentzel. Unless the staff decides to flip Bryan Rust and Hornqvist, expect Guentzel-Crosby-Hornqvist to be together opening night. The Hagelin – Malkin – Kessel line is pretty much locked in. Hard to see anything changing, barring injury. The coaches have been encouraged with the chemistry developing between Derick Brassard and Bryan Rust. We’re starting to trend where that pairing isRead More »

Latest Penguins Training Camp Buzz on Developing situations & Unsettled Lineup decisions looming


Latest Penguins Training Camp Buzz TIOPS Storylines [Haggerty, Blueger Impress] [Patience waning with Sprong?] [Numbers game/Aston-Reese] [Staff leaning towards Johnson/Maatta?] [Riikola/Scouts Buzz] [Rust primed for 50+ point season?] In a sense, Penguins training camp officially begins today. After Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Red Wings, Pittsburgh cut down their roster to 27 and return to the ice this morning after an off-day yesterday. Like all of the major pro sports, the NHL preseason/training camp is about 7-10 days too long and preparations for the regular season start this week where the experimenting phase with non-NHL players for this season is pretty much over. Here’s the Latest Buzz surrounding the Penguins: — Forwards Ryan Haggerty, Teddy Blueger among the cuts on Sunday, have created buzz in the organization with their trajectory and the strong camps they had. Haggerty has reminded some of Carter Rowney from his camp performance in 2016 thatRead More »