Nick Bjugstad out for the season


Penguins forward Nick Bjugstad is out for the season (if season resumes) after having surgery this week. Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said today Bjugstad suffered a setback recently in what will end up being a lost season for Bjugstad who appeared in just 13 games, totaling 1 goal and 1 assist. Bjugstad had been dealing with a herniated disc injury related to a past injury that also required surgery some four years ago, sources told TIOPS back in December. Dominik Simon has previously been ruled out for the year with a 6-7 month timetable in his recovery.

Key Takeaways & Rumblings on the NHL’s 24-Team Return to Play Plan


NHL commissioner Gary Bettman today revealed the NHL’s 24-team Return to Play plan. Here are the key takeaways: 1. Gary Bettman today was able to at least paint a picture on what the NHL is trying to do in restarting the season. A lot of what he said has matched the rumblings of late but the clock is ticking where things had reached the point where some movement had to be made on the ‘developing a plan’ process. “Any plan for the resumption of play, by definition, cannot be perfect and I am certain that depending on which team you root for you can find some element of this package that you might prefer be done differently,” said Bettman in a detailed media conference. “We believe we have constructed an overall plan that includes all teams that as a practical matter might have had a chance of qualifying for theRead More »

Pittsburgh under consideration to be a Hub city?


The city of Pittsburgh is 1 of 10 cities under consideration from the NHL to be one of the 2 Hub cities if league plays resumes. Pittsburgh is considered a major long shot, sources say, but the hotel setup in close proximity to PPG Paints Arena has Pittsburgh still in play and is a key drawing card to the league. Vegas is a heavy favorite to become 1 of the 2 Hub cities and the NHL first desire is to have 1 U.S. city and 1 Canadian city. The 10 cities in play: Chicago Columbus Dallas Edmonton Las Vegas Los Angeles St. Paul Pittsburgh Toronto Vancouver

Penguins voted ‘hard yes’ on 24-team format


Pittsburgh Penguins players were among the 29 teams to vote in favor of the NHL’s 24-team playoff format. In what would have been a major surprise to the Penguins organization for one, a report from Pittsburgh Hockey Now surfaced on Friday night stating Penguin players were a “hard no” in voting against the proposal. Minutes later the report was quickly refuted by Kris Letang, the Penguins players rep, who told Sportsnet the Penguins voted yes on the format. Multiple sources say the Penguins never considered voting no. Full story: Letang refutes reports PIT voted “no” on playoff proposal — Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 23, 2020

Best-of-5: Penguins will face Canadiens if NHL resumes play


Great momentum for Vegas as Hub city There’s many more steps needed for a resumption of the 2019-2020 season, but the National Hockey League has taken an important step in setting up the framework for a return to play this summer after the NHLPA voted 29-2 Friday night in agreeing to the NHL’s 24-team format proposal. “The Executive Board of the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) has authorized further negotiations with the NHL on a 24-team return to play format to determine the winner of the 2020 Stanley Cup. Several details remain to be negotiated and an agreement on the format would still be subject to the parties reaching agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play,” the union said in a statement. After two months of exchanging proposals and ideas, the league finally came around to the 24-team format that the players union has seen as the mostRead More »

Latest NHL Buzz: NHL no longer considering non-NHL cities for a summer return


Latest NHL Buzz After multiple discussions with the top hierarchy of the NHL Players Union over the last few weeks, the National Hockey League has scrapped any future meaningful discussions surrounding a return to play at venues in North Dakota, New Hampshire and any other true neutral site locations that were being mulled or discussed. Those two sites in particular that were pushed by the NHL for weeks in private discussions, are said to be completely off the table due to little player support on such a scenario. The NHL has decided the league would just be wasting precious time in thinking they could get enough player support to resume the season at any neutral site locations the league has broached in preliminary discussions. While any return of the season will clearly be at a select 3-4 venues, everyone involved is on board with that, NHL players are strongly inRead More »

Breakaway Buzz: NHL/Economics, Penguins’ Ownership, Evaluating a potential lost season


*Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. The NHL as expected extended their self-quarantine recommendation through April 30 for the players. It had previously been through April 15th. Update on @NHL Self-Quarantine Recommendation. — NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 14, 2020 Nothing has changed for the National Hockey League from a few weeks ago. Top league officials continue to be willing to wait things out for another couple months to see if there’s any chance to finish the 2019-2020 season. The league is going to wait until at least Mid-June before a decision is made, sources say. As reported a little while ago here, the best case scenario the league currently see’s is a July return for players in a training camp setting, a message the NHLPA also gave to players in a recent conference call, followed by August-October completion of the 2019-2020 season and the start of the 2020-2021 season inRead More »

MLB eyes a May return in Arizona, Pessimism in NHL circles?


Major League Baseball to begin regular season by Late May/Early June? (Photo: David Hague) Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Union are accelerating a plan to return in early May, much sooner than many expected, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports ESPN’s Jeff Passan reportsESPN’s Jeff Passan reports. NEWS: Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are focusing on a plan backed by federal health officials that could have players in training camps by May and games soon thereafter. Details at ESPN on how MLB may return — and the difficulty in doing so: — Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 7, 2020 As expected, It’s a very complicated scenario. The plan, which according to Passan currently has support of Federal officials, calls for all 30 teams playing in the greater Phoenix area in isolation without fans. Rapid testing, along with players and coaches having to sit in the stands 6-feet apart isRead More »

Latest NHL Buzz: Top decision makers leaning towards a 1-16 playoffs at neutral sites?


Keys on the NHL Navigating through a Great Unknown As the Coronavirus has put North America on lockdown with no end in sight, the NHL, MLB and NBA are living in a period of unknown like the rest of us are. We’re months away from sports returning and it’s going to be even longer for a complete normal way of life returning. With a vaccine several months away and experts in the medical field believing the virus may return again in the fall before a vaccine will be available, this is just such unchartered waters for professional leagues and all have to be prepared for a number of different scenarios to play out in the coming months. At the end of the day, if the professional leagues want to salvage their seasons, they’ve had to come to accept the reality that playing without fans is going to be about theRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Worrisome Trends, Dissecting Issues that need corrected fast


Worrisome Trends Continue The Pittsburgh Penguins have dropped seven of nine after a sleepless performance Saturday afternoon in a 5-2 loss to the Washington Capitals. In a year where there looks to be real separation between division winners and wild card level teams, the Penguins continued a worrisome trend against their arch rival on a day that was a four point swing in the wrong direction for the Penguins. A concern amongst the coaching staff has long been that when the Penguins get fully healthy, the bad habits and lack of commitment to playing all three zones with structure and discipline would re-emerge. And that’s exactly played out and it’s been building for several weeks. Mike Sullivan was warning against it weeks ago as he and others all saw it coming. The Penguins winning two straight against the Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres proved nothing and it was two winsRead More »