NHL Three Stars of the Night for Friday 1. Kyle Okposo, New York Islanders | 4 Goals, +3, 6 SOG, 18:15 | – Okposo netted his first career hat trick with a four goal night in a 6-3 win over the Penguins. Okposo’s big night included scoring 3 goals in the third period. Okposo scored the tying and go-ahead goals in the third vs the Penguins and iced the game, jamming home his 4th goal of the night on the power play with 2:31 remaining to push the Islanders lead to 5-3. Okposo scored three straight goals in the third for the Islanders. Okposo has 13 goals and 41 points on the seaso 2.James Neal, Nashville Predators | 2 Goals, +2, 5 SOG, 19:02 TOI | – Neal scored twice, including the game winner with 1:40 remaining in regulation, leading the Nashville Predators to a 4-3 win over the WashingtonRead More »
HURRICANES WILLING TO PICK UP SOME OF WARD’S SALARY A top priority for Hurricanes GM Ron Francis is to get the salary of Cam Ward off the Hurricanes books. Ward who carries a $6.3 million cap hit, has $13.5 million left on his contract over the next two years. There is lots of talk in league circles that the Hurricanes are willing to take on around $4-$5 million of the remaining $13.5 million to facilitate a trade as the Hurricanes would still get a net savings of over $8 million. Ward is due $6.7 million in 2014-2015 and $6.8 million in 2015-2016. One NHL source says Flames President Brian Burke loves Ward and adding a veteran goaltender is still important for a rebuilding team, but Ward has a no trade clause which could complicate things there. Ward, 30, went 10-12-6 with a 3.06 GAA and .898 save percentage in 2013-2014.Read More »
Inside Pittsburgh Sports has polled scouts and executives on 5 players from the Penguins NHL roster that are top trade candidates this summer. On who has the most trade value? James Neal won the poll receiving 3 of 5 votes with Paul Martin coming in at second, receiving 2 of 5 votes. Talk among executives is that Kris Letang’s trade value is a “complete unknown” right now. Today we examine James Neal’s future in Pittsburgh and his potential trade value. 1. James Neal – Age 26 Cap Hit: $5 million | Signed Through: 2017-2018 Clauses: None for 2014-2015 season *NTC kicks in on July 1, 2015* Is James Neal’s act getting old? He’s a player from a character standpoint that Penguins ownership group feels is part of the problem right now, multiple sources say. Neal has one of those personalities, attitude problems where many inside the organization cast doubts thatRead More »
The Pittsburgh Penguins will be shorthanded in the top-6 for this weekend’s home and home series vs the Philadelphia Flyers and possibly longer. Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma revealed after today’s practice that James Neal was diagnosed with a concussion Thursday afternoon and is out indefinitely. As with any player with a concussion, Neal could be back in the lineup in a week or be out for several weeks. “You don’t know if you’re talking about one to two days or much longer than that,” Bylsma said. “Yesterday when he came in from the day off, he said he was not feeling normal and he went to the doctor yesterday after practice.” With a lack of true scoring depth, the Penguins are one long-term injury to one of their top four forwards (Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz or Neal) to being in real trouble come playoff time. This is Neal’s second concussionRead More »
MORNING PENS BUZZ The Pittsburgh Penguins have been among the teams at the forefront over the past couple years in pushing for a ban on head shots. Penguins GM Ray Shero proposed a zero tolerance rule on banning head shots at the 2011 General Manager Meetings, a proposal that didn’t get much traction, but nonetheless, the Penguins have been among the most active organizations in trying to get others to come around on the idea. The Penguins have also been an organization that has come out publicly, at least Shero has, in being in favor of banning fighting. For those reasons it’s no surprise the Penguins came off as hypocrites in the past to some around the league for continuing to stand by Matt Cooke, but looking at the situation in front of the Penguins with James Neal right now, it’s not surprising to hear that quite a few importantRead More »
Here’s the explanation from the NHL Department of Player Safety on James Neal being suspended for five games. Among the key points: NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan says Neal has plenty of time to avoid Marchand. “With a clear view of Marchand and plenty of time to avoid him, Neal skates directly through Marchand’s head with his left knee,” Shanahan said. As pointed out in the video, what gets Neal in hot water here is how he looks directly down at Marchand and then turns his skates and extends his left leg into Marchand’s head.
Penguins winger James Neal who hasn’t played since October 3rd, participated in the Penguins morning skate this morning in New York, though he’s not an option to play tonight. Neal is in the 5th week of what sources have called a six week injury. Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma told reporters after the morning skate that Neal could return to practice on Monday.
James Neal played just 3:49 vs the New Jersey Devils and is now considered out indefinitely. “It’s more week-to-week than day-to-day,” Bylsma said of Neal’s injury. Bylsma said a number of players could see time in Neal’s spot but the injury to Neal is likely to lead to Beau Bennett moving up to the second line RW spot with Evgeni Malkin and Jussi Jokinen. Bennett practiced in that spot today. If Neal is out several weeks, Matt D’Agostini would be worth a look on Malkin’s right wing, letting Bylsma keep the third line of Bennett, Brandon Sutter and Chuck Kobasew together, but D’Agostini is not eligible to play for another three weeks due to being on LTIR and it’s not clear if he’ll be cleared to play by then anyways. Losing a 40 goal scorer in Neal is a blow but the Penguins depth in the top-6 is much strongerRead More »