Thomas Vanek, as expected, will not resign with the New York Islanders prior to the March 5th trade deadline. Arthur Staple of Newsday reports Vanek has turned down a “substantial offer” from the Islanders and the Isles are now likely to move Vanek. The move to acquire Vanek has backfired on GM Garth Snow who took a gamble that the lure of playing with John Tavares would get Vanek to accept a big offer from the Islanders. However, it’s been no secret that Vanek has had his sights set on testing free agency from the get-go with many believing he will be willing to give the Minnesota Wild a hometown discount this summer. The Islanders have fallen 10 points out of a playoff spot. Vanek has 19 goals and 47 points in 54 games this season. The trade market will be interesting for Vanek. Few top contenders can take onRead More »
If there’s one early observation to make it’s that the Western Conference is a significantly better conference than the Eastern Conference. Going into today’s action, Western Conference teams are 26-6-3 vs the East. In the East, the Atlantic Division has emerged as a much stronger division than the Metropolitan Division. Projected as a competitive division, the Metro has the look of easily being the worst division in hockey and it’s not even close. The joke going around is that the Penguins will have the division title wrapped up before the Olympic Break. The Penguins lead the way off to a 4-1-0, 8 pts, start, with Carolina (2-2-2, 6 pts), New York Islanders (2-2-1, 5 pts), Columbus Blue Jackets (2-2-0, 4 pts) all playing okay hockey. Does anyone out of that group stand much of a chance to compete with the Penguins for a division title? Likely not, but when theRead More »
HURRICANES LOOK TO FREE AGENT MARKET OR TRADE ROUTE Will the Carolina Hurricanes look at Matt Niskanen as an option to replace Joni Pitkanen who is lost for the season? Possible, but to this point there hasn’t been any substantive trade talks between the Penguins and Carolina about Niskanen, sources tell Inside Pittsburgh Sports. The Penguins would like to hold onto Niskanen. Even with Pitkanen, it was going to be tough sledding for the Hurricanes in the Metropolitan division and the buzz for a few weeks now has been that Carolina seeks a left handed top-4 defenseman to replace Pitkanen. Ron Hainsey has been linked to the Hurricanes and Bob McKenzie of TSN threw out Leafs RFA Cody Franson as a possibility. One intriguing option for the Hurricanes would be taking a gamble on Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaro who has one year left on his contract with a $4 millionRead More »
FLYERS, STREIT AGREE TO DEAL The Philadelphia Flyers have made their first big move of the off-season, agreeing to a 4 year worth $21 million with defenseman Mark Streit, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. The deal carries an AAV of $5.25 million and with Streit being 35 years old, all four years will count against the cap were Streit to retire.
GOALTENDERS ON THE MOVE *The most interesting deal this afternoon so far was the Tampa Bay Lightning trading young promising forward Cory Conacher to the Ottawa Senators for goaltender Ben Bishop. This is an excellent deal for the Senators who had the luxury of moving Bishop due to their goaltending depth. Trading Conacher could come back to haunt GM Steve Yzerman. Yzerman this past summer thought he had his young long-term goaltender in Anders Lindback but that hasn’t panned out.
POST-MORNING SKATE BUZZ The Penguins will look to extend their winning streak to 12 games tonight without Evgeni Malkin (shoulder) once again. Malkin who has been skating with the team and did again this morning, had been targeting a return for this weekend but is still dealing with some pain in his shoulder, the Penguins center said after the morning skate. Malkin was injured against the Maple Leafs on March 9th and will miss his 8th straight game. In a smart move, Malkin contends he won’t return until he is 100% and the pain in his shoulder goes away. Defenseman Kris Letang has also been ruled out of the lineup, head coach Dan Bylsma confirmed. Letang who skated very well this morning, will miss his third straight game and appears very close to returning. Letang was injured against Boston last Sunday. With Malkin and Letang still out and Tyler KennedyRead More »
MORNING SKATE BUZZ FLYERS (13-16-1, 27 pts) @ PENGUINS (24-8-0, 48 pts) The Penguins look to extend their winning streak to 12 games tonight against their cross-state rivals the Philadelphia Flyers and hit the 50 point plateau. The Flyers fighting for their playoff lives, are five points out of the last playoff spot in the East and they are reaching the point in the season where they have to start putting together some long winning streaks to salvage the season. That appears to be a difficult task for the Flyers who have only won two games in a row once since February 7th and have not had a winning streak this season of more than two games. The Flyers come in a fresh team last playing Monday night vs the Tampa Bay Lightning, a 4-2 loss. Philadelphia the past two seasons have snapped Penguin winning streaks of 12 and 11Read More »
PENGUINS RALLY PAST FLYERS Chris Kunitz (14) scored 18 seconds into the third period for his second goal of the game to cap off a four goal rally, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins (16-8-0, 32 pts) to a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers (11-13-1, 23 pts) on Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center. Pascal Dupuis (8), James Neal (15) and Tyler Kennedy (3) also scored for the Penguins who rallied from a 4-1 first period deficit, extending their winning streak to three games. Sidney Crosby had three assists and leads the NHL with 39 points. For the Flyers, Jakub Voracek (12) had two power play goals, Zac Rinaldo (3) and Kimmo Timonen (3) also scored in the loss. Marc Andre Fleury was pulled after giving up 4 goals on 18 shots in the first period and the game would see both starting goaltenders pulled as Ilya Bryzgalov was pulledRead More »
PENGUINS LINEUP VS FLYERS The Penguins scratches tonight vs the Philadelphia Flyers are defensemen Simon Despres, Robert Bortuzzo and center Joe Vitale. All three are regarded as healthy scratches. Paul Martin, as expected, returns to the lineup. TONIGHT’S LINEUP Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Pascal Dupuis Beau Bennett – Evgeni Malkin – James Neal Matt Cooke – Brandon Sutter – Tyler Kennedy Tanner Glass – Dustin Jeffrey – Craig Adams DEFENSEMEN Brooks Orpik – Paul Martin Matt Niskanen – Kris Letang Mark Eaton – Deryk Engelland Marc Andre Fleury in Goal
MORNING SKATE BUZZ Penguins (15-8-0, 30 pts) @ Flyers (11-12-1, 23 pts) Penguins defenseman Paul Martin is expected back in the lineup tonight vs the Philadelphia Flyers and the question leading up to tonight’s game has been who comes out of the lineup? Word from the Penguins morning skate is all signs point to Mark Eaton staying in the lineup after having a strong game on Monday night and getting high praise from head coach Dan Bylsma.