ON THE PENGUINS Matt Niskanen’s third period goal to break a 1-1 tie following a Matt Cooke four minute minor, lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins (23-8-0, 46pts) to a 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals (12-6-1, 25 pts) on Tuesday night at the Consol Energy Center. The win extended the Penguins winning streak to 10 games as the Penguins continue to climb in the standings, ranking 1st in the Eastern Conference with 46 points and boasting the second best record (tied with Anaheim) in the NHL. Pittsburgh trails the league leading Chicago Blackhawks by just five points as the Penguins might give the Hawks a run for the Presidents trophy with 17 games left. What the Penguins showed again Tuesday night is how dangerous they are in that you can outplay them for forty minutes but they find ways to put the game away with a momentum changing goal. Killing offRead More »
GAME DAY BUZZ OTTAWA SENATORS (7-4-2, 16 PTS) @ PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (8-5-0, 16 PTS) The emergence of Robert Bortuzzo isn’t going to push Simon Despres out of the lineup for when Kris Letang and Matt Niskanen return to the lineup, which could happen for both tonight vs the Ottawa Senators. Letang and Niskanen who seemed to be under orders not to say whether they will be in the lineup tonight, both indicated after the morning skate that they are a “coaches decision”. “Felt pretty good,” Letang said. “Ready to go”. Expectations are Letang will be in the lineup tonight and Niskanen sounded a lot more optimistic about playing tonight than he seemed after yesterday’s practice, saying today was a “really good day.” Both were to be evaluated after the morning skate. Niskanen left the ice with the regulars, while Letang stayed on later to get some more work in. IfRead More »
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 »
PENS FREE AGENCY BUZZ Some info I’ve been able to gather this afternoon on a few things: WAITING TO SEE HOW DRAFT UNFOLDS — I was told about an hour ago not to look for contract talks between the Penguins and Matt Niskanen to intensify until after the draft, a source directly involved in the negotiations told me. To recap, preliminary talks were established last week after the Penguins made a $1.75 million qualifying offer on Thursday to Niskanen and expressed early interest to Niskanen’s camp in negotiating a multi-year deal at somepoint….. but discussions remain in the very “early stages” and no deal is close or imminent. Word I got this afternoon is that both sides are waiting to see what the “Penguins” do at the draft in regards to their blueline, before moving forward in talks. The Penguins are active in trade talks and willing to move aRead More »
LATEST ON MATT NISKANEN Here’s where things stand on the Matt Niskanen front: As I reported yesterdayÂ morning, Pittsburgh made an official qualifying offer to NiskanenÂ on Thursday and after initial talks were established on Thursday and Pittsburgh expressed interest to Niskanen’s camp in negotiating a multi-year deal, I was told this morning the two sides briefly spoke on Friday but no talks are planned this weekend. This talk of Niskanen rejecting the Penguins qualifying offer is off-base as making the qualifying offer is just a technicality of Pittsburgh retaining Niskanen’s rights. It was never rejected as both sides plan to work off the $1.75 million qualifying offer with the hopes of reaching a two-three year deal, most likely a two year deal to cover Niskanen’s final RFA seasons as Niskanen is not scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent until July 2014. While there had been optimism of the sides reachingRead More »
The Pittsburgh Penguins have officially made a $1.75 million qualifying offer to defenseman Matt Niskanen, sources confirmed to Inside Pittsburgh Sports.com. The qualifying offer was made on Thursday. Though talks are in the very early stages, sources involved in the negotiations indicate a mutual interest has been expressed between the Penguins and Niskanen about a multi-year deal. The plan between the two sides is work off the qualifying offer and hopefully reach a multi-year deal at somepoint this summer.