Flyers believe health, experience will lead to different result


Despite heading into the playoffs with little momentum after a 4-5-1 finish and missing a golden opportunity to have home-ice in the first round, the Flyers believe this years playoff rematch with the Penguins will have a different result because of health. In the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals, the Flyers top defensemen Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn saw limited action during the series. Timonen did not appear in a game until the series finale and Coburn was lost for the series in Game 2 after taking a puck to the face that resulted in 50+ stitches. Beatwriters with the Flyers tell me, the organization truly believes it would have been a much different series if Coburn and Timonen were in the lineup throughout the series. The Flyers were also without 34 goal scorer Simon Gagne. All three players will be at 100% health for the start of the series which beginsRead More »

Duke throws CG, 4-hit shutout in 7-0 win


In front of a sell out crowd, Zach Duke threw a four hit, complete game shutout leading the Pittsburgh Pirates (4-3) to a 7-0 victory over the Houston Astros (1-6), Monday afternoon at PNC Park. Duke (2-0) is off to a strong start after a 5-14 season in 2008 and credits pitching coach Joe Kerrigan for the turnaround. Duke‚Äôs complete game shutout was the first by a Pirates pitcher in a home opener since 1978 While Duke dominated on the pitchers mound, Freddy Sanchez had three doubles, starting a five run third inning for the Pirates. Adam LaRoche who is notoriously a slow starter in April had three hits including a two run homer in the third inning to give the Pirates a 4-0 lead. Nyjer Morgan capped off the Pirates 5-run third inning, with a two-run single, scoring Ramon Vazquez and Jack Wilson. Ryan Doumit added a solo homerunRead More »

Playoff Reports: Drury questionable for game 1, Holik on the 5th line?


Western Conference Playoff Reports First all-California playoff series since 1969, between the Sharks & Ducks and it will be the first in-state postseason matchup in the NHL, NBA or Major League Baseball since 2002, when the Angels and San Francisco played in the World Series. No NHL team has won more playoff rounds (6) than the Ducks and Detroit since the 2005-06 season. The Columbus Blue Jackets could have forward Fredrik Modin in the lineup as early as Game 1 according to Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch. Monday’s Lines in practice according to the Dispatch Kristian Huselius — Manny Malhotra — Rick Nash R.J. Umberger — Antoine Vermette — Jake Voracek Raffi Torres — Jason Williams — Derek Dorsett Jason Chimera — Michael Peca/Jiri Novotny — Fredrik Modin Alexandre Picard — Derick Brassard/Chris Gratton — Nikita Filatov Defensemen Jan Hejda — Mike Commodore Fedor Tyutin — Rostislav Klesla KrisRead More »

Morning Practice Notes, Penguins prepare for Flyers


The Penguins went through their first practice of the playoff season this morning at 10:30 a.m. as the team prepares to take on the Philadelphia Flyers Wednesday night in the first round of the playoffs. The teams primary goal was to claim the 4th seed but going into the weekend with Philadelphia having two games in hand, and Carolina owning a tiebreaker, the players were not very optimistic and were expecting to start the playoffs on the road. All of that changed yesterday when the Rangers rallied to upend the Flyers 4-3. Practice Notes All 23 skaters were accounted for this morning. The Penguins are a very confident team right now but they are not taking anything for granted and the vibe around the room is this year’s playoff series will be much more competitive than last year’s conference finals Miroslav Satan and Craig Adams

Harrison signs for 6 years 51.7 million, $20 million guaranteed; PC Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.


Harrison gets 6 years – $51.7 million deal On Saturday we spoke to Bill Parise the agent for James Harrison and he told us the Steelers finalized a deal Saturday afternoon and scheduled a press conference for Tuesday. Parise tells us this morning the press conference will be at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Ed Bouchette has details of the deal and reports Harrison gets $51.7 million over 6 years and $20 million in signing & roster bonuses. Parise has confirmed to Inside Pittsburgh Sports that Harrison will receive $20 million in guarantees. The signing and roster bonuses are guaranteed. Breakdown of the Contract According to Parise, the deal is

Kevin Constantine front runner to replace Jacques Lemaire


When Kevin Constantine, the coach of the Minnesota Wild’s AHL affiliate, the Houston Aeros was hired in 2007, the Wild regarded Constantine as the heir apparent to Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire. With Lemaire stepping down as head coach, Constantine is among the front runners to replace Lemaire. What Constantine brings to the Wild is the same kind of strict coaching style that Lemaire brought to the team. Most importantly Constantine gets results but Wild GM Doug Risebrough will make a major mistake hiring Constantine. Lemaire was successful in Minnesota but Risebrough needs to change of the culture and playing style of the team. Top tier Players don‚Äôt want to play in a tight defensive/trapping style that Constantine and Lemaire implement. The Wild have lost Brian Rolston, Pavel Demitra over the past season, will lose Marian Gaborik and have failed to land top tier free agents. Risebrough was very activeRead More »

Game 1 Wednesday, Game 2 Friday, Game 3 Sunday


NBC to televise Game 3 & Game 6 (if necessary) Updated: NBC to televise Sunday’s game but it will be Game 3 not Game 2 which I previously reported. Games 1, 2, and 4 will be on FSN. NBC has also picked up game 6 (if necessary) which will also be televised at 3:00 p.m. Versus will pick up game 1 but locally the game will be shown on FSN. Game 1 – 4/15/09 Wednesday at Mellon Arena Game 2. – 4/17/09 Friday at Mellon Arena Game 3 – 4/19/09 Sunday at Wachovia center (3:00 p.m.) Game 4 – 4/21/09 Tuesday at Wachovia Center If Necessary Game 5 – 4/23/09 Thursday at Mellon Arena Game 6 – 4/25/09 Saturday at Wachovia Center (3:00 p.m.) Game 7 – 4/27/09 Monday at Mellon Arena Rangers/Capitals and Hurricanes/Devils to open up on Wednesday.

Flyers fall to Rangers; Penguins gain home-ice advantage


The Philadelphia Flyers will be traveling to Pittsburgh for the first round of the playoffs. Down 3-2 in the third period, Sean Avery and Blair Betts scored third-period goals to rally the New York Rangers to a 4-3 win over the Flyers on Sunday. The loss was a missed opportunity for the Flyers as the Penguins gain home-ice for a rematch from last season’s conference finals. Pittsburgh is

Malkin wins 1st NHL scoring title; Penguins win regular season finale


Pittsburgh 3 – Montreal 1 Saturday night was a night of celebration for the Penguins as the team won their season finale 3-1 against the Montreal Canadiens and remain in the hunt for the #4 seed in the Eastern Conference. Max Talbot and Kris Letang added shorthanded goals and Marc Andre Fleury made 29 saves to record his 35th win of the season. Evgeni Malkin (35) also scored for the Penguins who outshot the Canadiens 41-30. With a Carolina loss Saturday afternoon, the Penguins (99 pts) will finish no worst than 5th in the Eastern Conference and will face their cross-state rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers (99 pts) ¬†in the first round. A Flyers regulation loss to the Rangers Sunday afternoon gives the Penguins home-ice in the first round. Top Story The top story of the night was Evgeni Malkin (35 goals ‚Äì 78 assists ‚Äì 113 pts) winning his firstRead More »