AFC Playoff Picture: Can Baker Mayfield save the Steelers season?

 

AFC PLAYOFF PICTURE: Steelers need help 1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) The Chiefs blew a chance Sunday night to clinch homefield with a loss against Seattle but still control their destiny with a week 17 matchup over the Raiders. A Chiefs loss vs the Raiders + a Chargers win will Kansas City fall to the No. 5 seed. 2. New England Patriots (10-5) Despite all signs of the Patriots being a team trending down, there’s no great team in the AFC that opens the door for New England to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl for the third straight year. The Patriots are still in great position to avoid playing on wild-card weekend for the ninth straight season. New England will clinch a first-round bye with a win vs the Jets and still have an outside chance at the first overall seed if the Chiefs and Chargers each lose.Read More »

Patric Hornqvist to return vs Capitals

 

Penguins – Capitals Right winger Patric Hornqvist will return tonight vs the Washington Capitals. Hornqvist who has been nursing an upper body injury, will start the game on the third line with Derick Brassard and Tanner Pearson. Hornqvist has 12 goals and 9 assists in 24 games this season. Mike Sullivan who had to answer more questions about his relationship with Phil Kessel/Evgeni Malkin, following critical comments this week from former Penguin Pascal Dupuis, will keep the second line of AstonReese – Malkin – Kessel intact. Tonight’s goaltending matchup will be Matt Murray vs Braden Holtby.

Latest Pens Buzz: Ducks physically impose will on Penguins; Clubs looking into health concerns for Brassard?

 

Monday’s 4-2 loss for the Penguins was another game that showed maybe this is just who this team is. They can have a dominant 6-7 minute stretch like they did in the first period, but they the lack the proper territorial game over sixty minutes and Monday’s hockey game showed a hockey club that is extremely susceptible to getting physically man-handled for long stretches when it comes to puck battles in all three zones. Pittsburgh surrendered a 2-0 lead with one of the worst periods of hockey they’ve had all season in a disastrous stretch. Things, though, started to slip away from the Penguins immediately after the Rust goal where from the final five minutes of period one though a large portion of the second period Anaheim would go on to out-shoot the Penguins 19-0. Where this game turned was the Ducks physically imposing their will on Pittsburgh. The PenguinsRead More »

On next 4 game stretch being key evaluation tool; Murray/DeSmith Dynamic; GM/Coach differ on Riikola?

 

Next Four Game Stretch an important one for PEnguins With a 4-3 OT win Saturday night vs the Los Angeles Kings off a Phil Kessel game winner, the Penguins capped off the week (12/10-12/16) 3-1-0 that once again ignited talk of have the Penguins started turning the corner? In the present, this team just needs to start racking up points, but big picture I wouldn’t go crazy just yet on the Penguins putting together a 3-1 stretch. Yes, Casey DeSmith is playing at a No. 1 caliber level and Pittsburgh got a ton of secondary scoring during the four game stretch but the quality of opponents still puts an asterisk on things. A shootout win against the Islanders and an overtime win against the Kings is nothing to write home about and Pittsburgh’s one win last week against an actual quality opponent (likely playoff team) came on the backs ofRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: On another bad loss, Malkin’s woes, Missing Hagelin, Derick Brassard Latest

 

Another Step Back Pittsburgh’s 6-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks continues a trend of one step forward, two steps back. “We’re trying to build some traction here,” coach Mike Sullivan said after the loss. “We’ve played a lot of good hockey over the last three or four weeks. We’re trying to string some wins together and points together and momentum. When you have a night like tonight, it sets you back.” The lack of fire from the group Wednesday night and some disinterested performances from the likes of Evgeni Malkin is what made Wednesday’s loss feel like such a bad one when also considering the Blackhawks were playing in a back-to-back. Common trends have played out all season where the Penguins look more like a middle of the road team than a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. With the Penguins no longer a great forechecking team that hunts the puck atRead More »

Matt Murray activated from injured reserve

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins this morning activated Matt Murray from injured reserve and re-assigned Tristan Jarry to Wilkes Barre/Scranton. The Penguins have activated goaltender Matt Murray from injured reserve. Goaltender Tristan Jarry has been re-assigned to the @WBSPenguins. Details: https://t.co/HhDIy5Gm1v pic.twitter.com/MZiO33rlmW — Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) December 12, 2018 Murray is 4-5-1 with a 4.08 GAA and .877 save percentage on the season. Murray last played on November 17. Casey DeSmith coming off a great start Monday night, is 9-4-4 with a 2.34 GAA and .925 SV%.

Latest Pens Buzz: Blockbuster scenarios kicked around with Blues & More Trade Buzz

 

Penguins remain active in trade talks The Pittsburgh Penguins have points in nine of their last 11 games and are now just two points out of second place in the Metropolitan Division. That’s the good for Pittsburgh. A reality check for the Penguins is the same as it was 3-4 weeks ago: They’re the second best team in the Metropolitan Division, no matter where they currently are in the standings. As Jim Rutherford and his staff look at this team with a full lens they have that going for them. What Rutherford, though, continues to evaluate this team is how they stack against the rest of the league and the numbers don’t lie. Despite the recent surge, this is still a team 19th in the NHL in points. Pittsburgh is by no means a bottom 10-12 type team, but there’s a group of 6-7 teams a level above the PenguinsRead More »

Andrew McCutchen is Philadelphia Bound

 

Andrew McCutchen is Philadelphia bound. McCutchen, 32, has agreed to a three year deal worth approximately $50 million with the Philadelphia Phillies, according to The AthleticPHI. McCutchen batted .255 with 20 home runs and 65 RBIs in 155 games. A player on the downside since the 2016 season, this is a heck of a deal for McCutchen as there were questions whether a three year deal would even be out there for him in free agency.