Post-Practice Buzz: Letang could return vs Senators; Niskanen more of a longshot?


POST-PRACTICE BUZZ Kris Letang who has missed the last three games due to a groin injury, was a full participant in Tuesday’s practice at the Consol Energy Center. Letang skated as the 4th pairing with Matt Niskanen and also saw time on the second power play unit. If his injury responds well after today’s full skate, the chances are good of Letang returning to the lineup tomorrow night against the Ottawa Senators at home, but no decision on Letang is going to be made until after the morning skate. “We’ll talk right now and tomorrow morning after morning skate,” Letang said of speaking with his doctors on whether he might play tomorrow. Head coach Dan Bylsma was pleased with how Letang looked. “Kris Letang had a full day,” Bylsma said. “We had some contact drills, some D-zone, and it was a pretty stressful day on a lower body injury andRead More »

Penguins player reports vs Jets: Poor d-zone play from Neal, other forwards a growing concern


Premium Post-Game Player Reports Game 4 – Friday, January 25, 2013 Penguins @ Jets Centers Sidney Crosby| 2 Goals, even rating, 3 SOG, 2 BS, 4 Hits, 1 GV, 24:07 TOI, 8 FW – 6 FL, 57.1% Crosby scored two first period goals and led the Penguins offensive attack but his two-goal night wasn’t enough for the Penguins. Crosby opened the scoring at 4:26 of the first period, taking a pass from Kunitz in the slot and with Olli Jokinen on him, snuck a snap shot inside Pavelec’s right post for the goal. On Crosby’s second goal of the night at 14:48 of the first period, he came through the neutral zone with speed after taking a pass off the boards from Matt Niskanen and given time and space as Byfuglien and Stuart backed in, Crosby cut to the middle and beat Pavelec with a backhand goal. Crosby had aRead More »

Pens Notes: Letang introduced by SKA; Malkin’s advantage to repeat as Art Ross Trophy winner if there’s a season


LETANG INTRODUCED (Photo courtesy of KHL) Penguins defenseman Kris Letang was introduced today by SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL. Letang will begin playing for SKA immediately and is not waiting around for the lockout to end. MALKIN A GOOD BET TO REPEAT AS ART ROSS TROPHY WINNER IF THERE’S A SEASON? If the NHL ends up having a 48 game season, coaches, evaluators, ect, feel those currently playing overseas are going to have an advantage over those who are currently not playing and just training with other players.

Impact of likely 5 year contract limits would have on the Penguins negotiations with Letang and Malkin


A lost season is expected to lead to a run off of contracts, therefore, players who were entering the final year of their contracts for the 2012-2013 season would become free agents in summer 2013, like they were suppose to regardless of whether there is hockey this season. For the Penguins, unrestricted free agents to be include Matt Cooke, Pascal Dupuis, Craig Adams, and Ben Lovejoy. There are no significant names out of that group but the money Cooke, Dupuis and Adams would be losing from a lost season is money they will probably never get back. Cooke turns 35 in September and Dupuis coming off a career year, turns 34 in April. Adams who turns 36 in April, could see his Penguin and NHL career come to an end if there’s no hockey this season. Despite GM Ray Shero regarding Adams as a great locker room guy, he willRead More »

Trade Watch: Pens blueliners in play leading into draft weekend


Since the Penguins ouster in the first round to the Philadelphia Flyers, the biggest storyline this off-season was going to be how GM Ray Shero attacked his blueline this off-season, as the team has six defensemen under one-way contracts, three RFA’s in Matt Niskanen, Robert Bortuzzo and Brian Strait who would be qualified, giving the Penguins nine defensemen eligible for waivers next season, in addition to prospect Simon Despres who the Penguins  have felt is ready for a jump to be a top-6 defenseman. Nearly two months later, it remains Pittsburgh most pressing off-season question, not Jordan Staal. With strong indications that Penguin management feels Simon Despres and Robert Bortuzzo are ready for full-time roles, the Penguins appear ready to move some bodies on the blueline and GM Ray Shero tells Dave Molinari of the Post-Gazette that he expects to trade a defensemen or two before next season. Who is mostRead More »

Morning Pens Buzz: On Breakdowns vs Sens; Turnaround starts with committment to defense; Scouts take on Pens “finesse” role players


Morning Pens Buzz It was a meltdown for the Penguins Tuesday night, falling to the Ottawa Senators 5-1 on home ice, dropping their 5th straight game. The team was lifeless when it counted and by the time they showed some life after Evgeni Malkin’s second period goal, it was to late. The Penguins have scored six goals in their last five games and anyone can see that number and realize you’re not going to win hockey games with those type of numbers. The high percentage shots are still missing and they were again vs Ottawa. Injuries can be attributed to the Penguins struggles offensively but this is still a team that has Evgeni Malkin and four former 20-goal scorers aside from Malkin in their lineup in James Neal, Chris Kunitz, Tyler Kennedy and Steve Sullivan, and former 15+ goal scorers in the likes of Pascal Dupuis. This isn’t the 2003-2004 PenguinsRead More »

Monday Night Pens Buzz: Martin, Park on the mend but the same can’t be said for Crosby or Letang yet


The Pittsburgh Penguins returned from the holiday break today in preparations for Tuesday night’s contest against the Carolina Hurricanes who were victorious tonight, defeating the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on home ice. Brandon Sutter scored twice and Cam Ward made 23 saves to earn the win. Carolina took over the game in the second period, outshooting New Jersey, 13-2 and getting goals from Tuomo Ruutu and Anthony Stewart in the period. The Hurricanes (12-19-6, 30 pts) have won two straight and are 14th in the East with 30 points. Pittsburgh (20-11-4, 44 pts) enters Tuesday trailing the New York Rangers (22-8-4, 48 pts) by four points for the conference and division lead. New York shutout the Islanders 3-0 tonight, earning their 5th straight win. Latest Injury Buzz For the Penguins on the injury front, things are status quo as the Penguins remain mum on the status of Sidney Crosby andRead More »

All-Star Voting: Crosby leads all vote getters; Letang leads D-men in “write-in votes”


All-Star Voting Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby leads all vote getters in the NHL All-Star Fan Balloting Presented by XM with 118,755 votes. Crosby holds a significant lead in votes for forwards, leading Washington Capitals winger Alexander Ovechkin (80,169 votes) by more than 38,000 votes. Crosby’s teammate Evgeni Malkin is 10th among forwards with 56,255 votes. Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith is second among vote getters, receiving 82,968 votes. As of today, Crosby, Ovechkin and Chicago’s Jonathan Toews (79,953 votes) would be the three forwards automatically selected to the game along with defensemen Duncan Keith, Nik Lidstrom (80,723 votes) and goaltender Carey Price (71,199 votes). Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos who leads the NHL with 20 goals and is tied for the NHL points lead with 35, is 4th among forwards with 78,833 voters. Voting ends on January 3, 2011 and the All-Star game will take place on January 30, 2011.Read More »

Gonchar remains top priority


Letang not biting on short-term offer Contract talks with pending free agent Sergei Gonchar have been on-going since Penguins GM Ray Shero and J.P. Barry, the agent for Gonchar, held their first set of substantive talks during the Penguins Western Canada road trip in mid-Janaury. A meeting in Pittsburgh did not happen this weekend between the two sides, but negotiations have been described as “productive” according to a source close to Gonchar. Shero and J.P. Barry intend to hold extensive talks leading up and into the Olympic break, with Pittsburgh currently focused on a three year deal. Penguins GM Ray Shero is truthful that the teams’ priority is to retain Gonchar and young defenseman Kris Letang but Pittsburgh’s top priority is to keep Sergei Gonchar, even if it might be at the expense of Letang. Sources tell me Pittsburgh’s cap projections for the next two seasons can withstand a Letang/GoncharRead More »