Morning Pens Buzz: On missed opportunity of 2011 draft; Area new GM will need to be different & more buzz


MORNING PENS BUZZ Watching Brandon Saad just dominate vs the Kings in Game 5 on Wednesday night, it had to make Penguins fans sick to their stomachs. Three years later, the 2011 draft has ended up being a draft that set the Penguins back. In selecting defenseman Joe Morrow, Shero and his scouting staff not only had passed on Saad and potential star goaltender John Gibson who were in his backyard, Boone Jenner sure would have looked great this season next to Malkin or Crosby, wouldn’t he? The worst thing about by-passing Saad is he plays the perfect type of style for a Dan Bylsma system, the so called “Penguins Way” so many in the organization call it. Yet, the Penguins didn’t give any consideration to drafting Saad as their decision came down to Morrow or defenseman Scott Mayfield. Shero was quoted in the Tribune-Review prior to the 2011 draftRead More »

Morning Pens Buzz: There’s certainly disappointment inside the organization that Neal didn’t take responsibility for his actions on Saturday


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 »

Morning Pens Buzz: Could Jaroslav Halak become a Penguin next season?


MORNING PENS BUZZ — My biggest takeaway from the Penguins 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues Saturday night is how the Blues look like a serious Stanley Cup contender. Top to bottom a very deep team, play a great team structure and they have great size. I was also really impressed with the effectiveness of their fourth line. Unfortunately for the Blues they play in the Western Conference where they might be the third or fourth best team in the conference. — Were the Penguins and Blues meet in the Cup Finals, it would not be a favorable matchup for the Penguins. The Blues can play a heavy game effectively against the Penguins style of play and it would be a series I’d favor the Blues. I would see them giving the Penguins the same type of problems Boston gave them last post-season. — Following Bruins game few weeksRead More »

Morning Pens Buzz: Inconsistency on PK is one alarming sign for Penguins; On D-pairings, Iginla at LW & third line


MORNING PENS BUZZ Even in a meaningless game a head coach doesn’t like surrendering a 2-0 goal lead with the playoffs just around the corner. “Certainly don’t like the situation of giving up a lead,” Bylsma said on the Penguins giving up a 2-0 lead in Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the Devils. “Those we’re situations where we’ve been very good, so those are situations you want to play well, look to play well.” If there’s one area of concern for the Penguins heading into the playoffs, it’s the penalty kill being an issue in a seven game series and keeping an inferior team hanging around in a series. “Penalty kill in third period was a big one for us and we weren’t able to kill it off,” Bylsma said on David Clarkson’s third period power play goal. The Penguins are 25th in the NHL at 79% on the penalty killRead More »

Morning Pens Buzz: Bortuzzo making his mark; Reese earns high praise from Bylsma


MORNING PENS BUZZ In five games, Robert Bortuzzo is showing why the organization opted to keep him over the likes of Brian Strait and Ben Lovejoy. He brings elements the Penguins have lacked on their blueline and he’s a unique defenseman at 6-foot-4 who plays physical and can skate well. Bortuzzo made his mark Thursday night vs the Capitals, seeing 16:59 of ice time, a season high, and had 3 hits and 1 blocked shot. The physical element of providing “grit” has been on display in all five games this season, but it stood out vs the Capitals as Bortuzzo was physical with Alexander Ovechkin in the third period. Bortuzzo looks to make it difficult on the opposition and he’s fit the scouting report on him to perfection. “That’s one of the things Robert brings to the table,” Bylsma said of the physical element. “He’s a bigger body guy, littleRead More »

Morning Pens Buzz: Adjustments on the fly that weren’t there last spring, have been promising to see from coaching staff


MORNING PENGUINS BUZZ In last years playoff debacle vs the Philadelphia Flyers where the Penguins were badly out coached throughout the series with no adjustments made as the series progressed from the coaching staff and little things missed from a coaching standpoint like the Penguins not attacking the Flyers six left handed defensemen the right way on the forecheck like the Devils staff were able to pinpoint and exploit vs the Flyers in the second round, a GM could have easily came to a decision that it was time for a coaching change. Heck, some fans were ready to chase Bylsma out of town following the Winnipeg loss 12 days ago, the fourth game of the season. Despite three straight early playoff exits, Bylsma has entered this season with his seat not even close to being “warm” as he’s so highly regarded in the organziation from GM Ray Shero to TeamRead More »

Morning Pens Buzz: Michalek’s prowess as a shot blocker was overlooked; Eligible for waivers, Jeffrey motivated to showcase himself to Pens, rest of league in camp, source says


MORNING PENS BUZZ — The NHL is reviewing details of Greg Jamison’s latest attempt to finalize the Phoenix Coyotes sale and if everything checks out and Jamison officially closes the sale like the Coyotes and Jamison now believe is just a formality, Jamison’s first big move as owner will be overpaying captain Shane Doan. While Doan has shown great patience in waiting on Jamison, he won’t be giving the Coyotes likely owner a hometown discount. Doan’s agent Terry Bross has set the stage for Doan to receive a four year deal from the Coyotes in the range of $22-$24 million. — Don’t think the Penguins waiting on Shane Doan is holding up other potential impact moves. They know despite being on Doan’s shortlist, that he’s a big longshot to come here, even if the Jamison deal suddenly falls through again, but there’s just not a lot of trade opportunities outRead More »

Morning Pens Buzz on Doan; Yandle; Huselius a potential camp invite?; Tangradi-Malkin-Neal together?


MORNING PENS BUZZ — As Shane Doan has intensified talks with interested teams, there is said to be frustrations among some interested teams who feel agent Terry Bross who’s majority of clients are baseball players, has used the media to drive up Doan’s price, and don’t like how he’s negotiated through the media. In some sense it’s an agent job to drive up the price but the sense I get from league sources is that a few teams don’t like how he’s publicly specified which teams have “strong interest”. Look for Bross to become much more quiet as Doan gets closer to picking a team.

Morning Pens Buzz on Scouting Meetings, Open competition in goal, Bortuzzo/Strait & Knuble interest?


MORNING PENS BUZZ The Penguins pro scouting meetings are underway this week beginning yesterday and here’s some rumblings coming out of Penguin circles: — As the dust has settled a bit since the signing of Tomas Vokoun on Monday to a two year, $4 million deal, strong indications now out of the organization is that this signing was made with implications of their being an open competition next season at the goaltender position. Marc Andre Fleury has responded well in the past when challenged by a backup playing well with prime examples being Ty Conklin in 2007-2008 and Brent Johnson in the first month of the 2010-2011 season. What’s different here is the type of goaltender Vokoun is, compared to Conklin and Johnson who were true backups and not number 1 types, and Fleury regardless of how things played out in 2008 and 2010, was not going to lose his jobRead More »